Local News

Arson was cause of water park fire

Posted December 24, 2008 4:51 p.m. EST

— The State Bureau of Investigation declared Wednesday that the fire at a Hope Mills water park was intentionally set.

Fantasy Lake Water Park was destroyed last week by a fire that investigators say started in the cab of a maintenance vehicle.

Repairs could cost $2 million. The park owners, who have no insurance, vowed to rebuild.

"The entire building is gone," owner Marjorie Turner said. She and her husband, James, bought the property in 2005, after spending her childhood summers playing and swimming there.

About 15 fire crews from Cumberland County, Hoke County and Fayetteville responded to the four-alarm fire. Firefighters had difficulty pumping water from the lake and nearby hydrants, so they had to truck water in from another source, authorities said.

The clubhouse contained an arcade, pool room, gift shop, restaurant, offices and mechanic's shop, the Turners said.

Marjorie Turner said her father and brother, both contractors, will assist in the rebuilding.

Almost 100,000 people visit Fantasy Lake Water Park each summer, and the park employs about 90 teens.

"This is the blood, sweat and tears – everything that we've worked for every single day from April to September," Marjorie Turner said. "Every day we're here, sometimes up to 16 hours a day. It's priceless."