Refrigerant leak causes fire scare at Harris Teeter

Friday night at Harris Teeter near Whispering Pines quickly turned to panic after a refrigerant leak produced a smoky haze in the store’s mechanical room. 

Multiple departments were dispatched just before 10 p.m. to the grocery store located at 400 Mill Creek Road, across from the Moore County Airport, for a possible commercial structure fire with evacuation in progress.

Units arrived on the scene and immediately began investigating a smoky haze in a large mechanical room in the rear of the store. A short time later, it was determined that a bad fitting to a line for a compressor connected to the cooling system for multiple refrigerated items in the store had developed a refrigerant leak and was spraying a liquid haze into the room that had the appearance of smoke but without the smell. Firefighters worked quickly to isolate the leak until store maintenance could arrive and make necessary repairs.

According to officials on the scene, there was a possibility of a flash fire from the leak if it had ignited, but there was not much of a fire threat beyond that. 

At the time of this story, maintenance was on the scene addressing the issue, and the store is expected to be open for normal business hours.

~Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Daniel Gwyn. Daniel has been reporting breaking news for Sandhills Sentinel since 2020.

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