Across the highway, staff at the Fast Fuel convenience store had one of the first looks at the flames.
Callie Thompson worked the register for people who would buy cool drinks as they watched the fire from the gas station parking lot.
"When it first started it was a yellow color smoke" said Thompson, "and then it turned really dark black and it just covered everywhere in black smoke."
Even drivers down Interstate 85 could see the thick smoke.
Spartanburg County Emergency Management Director, Doug Bryson, said crews responded in minutes, creating a command center to organize more than 80 workers. He said firefighters kept the fire from spreading and DOT crews blocked off nearby roads as they worked.
Bryson said the old double-knit fabric factory was vacant, that it has been for at least 20 years. Sheriff's deputies said they have found homeless people staying there over the years.
By Friday night, authorities said they had no way to know if anyone was inside, but fire marshals will investigate the fire as a possible crime scene.
The fire chief in command said it will take days before investigators even get a chance to start looking into how this fire started. Until then, crews will rotate through 12-hour shifts until all flames and hot spots are out.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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