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'Suspicious Activity' Reported Before Downtown Raleigh Fire

Posted November 9, 2007
Updated November 10, 2007

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— The lead investigator on Saturday morning returned to the scene of a major fire at a business in downtown Raleigh. On Friday night, officials said that fire might have suspicious origins.

Crews were called out to the fire in the 1400 block of South Blount Street shortly before 7:15 p.m. Initial calls came from the Cargill, Inc. plant, but when firefighters arrived, they discovered the fire was across the street at S&H Trailer Rental.

Two mobile homes and a car were on fire at the vehicle storage center. About 50 firefighters took an hour and 15 minutes to put out the fire.

A preliminary investigation showed that the fire might have been intentionally set, fire officials said, but cautioned that they have only started to probe the cause and origin of the fire.

"There are reports of suspicious activity in the area," Raleigh Fire Department Division Chief Rusty Styons said. "However, it's so early. Our investigation has just begun."

Officials said the layout of the S&H Trailer Rental hampered firefighting efforts. Firefighters had to use a ladder truck, because it was the only way to get close enough to put out the flames.

"This area is completely shielded and blocked in by these trailers parked side by side all the way around," Styons said. Investigators will look at whether there were any fire-code violations at S&H Trailer.

Blount Street was closed during firefighting efforts on Friday night. Public officials advised motorists to avoid the area.

Early reports indicated that hazardous materials were on the site. Emergency crews brought in air-monitoring equipment, and tests revealed no contaminants, officials said.

Investigators stayed at the scene overnight to sift through the evidence.


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  • mayor Nov 10, 2007

    Sallymom - can not imagine your pain. I suppose there ARE worse things; however, at the time, I am sure you would be hard pressed to think they were. Glad you are re-grouping and I wish you and your family well. You appear to be strong - please stay that way. LOL

  • gopanthers Nov 10, 2007

    sallysmom - No Problem. I certainly feel for you and your family. Never happened to me so I can only imagine and I certainly understand the pretty sensitive part. You have a nice Saturday.

  • shine Nov 10, 2007

    Sallysmom = I can side with you and am very sorry. I lost my businesss behind Hurricane Isabel. 14 fire depts., 47 firetrucks, at the end of the day all I owned was a folded evelope, an ink pen, and a cell phone. I had alot of personal items at my office - all a complete loss along with countless pieces of equipment and 15,000 engineering drawings, I know how you feel.

  • Scarecrow Cow Nov 10, 2007

    If it was intentional I have to wonder whether it might have been insurance fraud. Burn a failing rental buisiness and make money rather than lose it all by keeping it open.
    And I'm very sorry for your loss, sallysmom. I can't imagine what that must have been like.

  • sallysmom Nov 9, 2007

    things are getting much better...my family is all okay, and that's what is most important...stuff can be replaced...thanks for your concern...sorry if I was snarky earlier...i'm just pretty sensitive about fires right now.

  • gopanthers Nov 9, 2007

    sallysmom - Sorry to hear of your loss. I can only imagine. I hope things are getting better for you and your family. God Bless you back.

  • sallysmom Nov 9, 2007

    btw, sorry..."firefighters" not "firefighter's"

  • sallysmom Nov 9, 2007

    you know folks,
    I lost my house in the August Rolesville fire, so forgive me if I find no humor in this, or any other, fire...firefighter's risk their lives to fight these fires, and someone's livelihood is burning to the ground...grow up, please...and may you never know the pain of losing your home and possessions.
    god bless

  • Says Nov 9, 2007

    Two thoughts:
    It has to be a pretty interesting scene down there with Blunt, I mean, "Blount" street on fire...
    And, if it continues to burn for awhile, can we start calling it Burnt Down Town?

  • whatelseisnew Nov 9, 2007

    Wow that looks pretty bad in that little photo. Here's hoping none of the firefighters are injured.