UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.
Fire crews from the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department, Wilmington Fire Department and New Hanover County Fire Rescue are still working to put out hot spots. The building is gutted inside and flames could still be seen from the street, but the fire is contained to the one building. No civilians or emergency rescue personnel have been injured.
Some beachgoers whose cars were in the parking lot next to the pier were allowed to leave, but others on the side closest to the burned-out building were not due to hoses and other equipment staged in that area. Town officials said it’s unknown how long crews will be set up there.
In addition to firefighters, agents and a canine from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation were also on scene, along with fire inspectors from New Hanover County. Officials said it’s standard procedure to have arson investigators on the site of a fire. No cause of fire has been determined yet.
Area firefighters and emergency workers are on the scene of a blaze at a Wrightsville Beach landmark.
Smoke continued to pour Friday afternoon from Kings Beach Store, a longtime souvenir shop and convenience store located at 21 E. Salisbury St. beside Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, where a fire sparked around noon.
According to Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens, there were patrons inside the store at the time the blaze started, but they were able to get out safely. No injuries have been reported so far.
Around 2 p.m., the now gutted business’ roof collapsed.
The end of Salisbury Street has been closed off as crews from the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach fire departments, as well as New Hanover County Fire and EMS, attempt to extinguish the flames and prevent them from spreading to nearby structures.
Wrightsville Beach police officers are helping direct traffic and keep the crowd of onlookers at a safe distance. Duke Progress Energy staff has also arrived to monitor electrical lines.
Port City Daily is at the scene of the fire. Check back for more on this developing story.