Local News

Investigators Say Newton Fires Were Result of Arson

Posted January 7, 1997

— Two early morning fires in Sampson County destroyed two buildings. Now, despite the fact that no one apparently saw anything at either site, fire investigators are looking for an arsonist.

One of the buildings was, until 30 year ago, the Newton Grove School. Recently, it had been used as a storage building for Newton Grove Building Supply. It and all of its contents were completely destroyed in Tuesday morning's fire.

The second fire burned a storage shed full of antiques less than two miles away from the first. Calls for the two fires came in exactly 16 minutes apart. Nine fire stations had to be called in to bring the blazes under control.

Chief David Parker of the Newton Grove Fire Department says it could have been much worse than it was.

Wayne Stewart, owner of the destroyed building supply company, has a difficult time looking at the rubble. He says the fire cost him about $150,000.

With morning light the fire marshal began his investigation of the two suspicious fires, now called arson. That's big news for the small town of Newton Grove.

Anyone with information that might help to solve this crime is asked to call the Sampson County Fire Marshal's office at 910-592-8996. With some flames still active at the two sites Tuesday night, that office is waiting until Wednesday to search for clues in the rubble.

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