South Memphis cotton warehouse catches fire, destroying thousands of bales

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Fire Department battled a blaze Friday morning at the Planters Gin Company in the 100 block of West Mallory.

Owners of the 70-year-old cotton company said the fire started in a warehouse but they aren't sure how. No other structures on the property were damaged.

Chief Wayne Cooke of the Memphis Fire Department shared what contributed to the fire.

"It's extremely difficult this being a metal building, several openings in that building. Wind is a contributing factor to this fire, spreading," Cooke said.

They expect several thousand cotton bales worth an estimated $1 million went up in smoke.

Johnny Tate watching the firefight unfold could not make sense of what was happening through the thick flames.

" I didn't know what was going on," Tate said. "I thought they had it contained and all of a sudden it just smoked back up."

At one point, the roof collapsed as fire fighters worked to put out the blaze.

Still, owners said, they will continue to operate as they straighten out the situation over the next year.

No injuries were reported and the cause is still unknown.