Local News

Authorities Release Chapel Hill Fire 9-1-1 Tape

Posted January 2, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Chapel Hill firefighters are busier than they'd like to be as the new year gets off to a fiery start. Two small but suspicious fires are already being investigated.

But the problem isn't as new as the year. Investigators say 1996 was littered with unsolved fires, some of which are believed to have been the result of arson.

Questions surround the origins of the two most recent fires. One blaze at the Vine Veterinary Hospital on Monday was followed by another early Tuesday. In the latter, fire broke out at about 5 a.m. at the 411 West restaurant. Both businesses are on Franklin Street.

Firefighters have released a tape of the call to 9-1-1 that alerted them to the animal hospital fire. They want people to listen to the tape and see if they can identify the caller.

Fire Marshal Joe Robertson says they need to know who placed that call.

Anyone who thinks the voice of the 9-1-1 caller is even vaguely familiar is asked to call the Chapel Hill Fire Marshal's office.

They have not said that the caller is a suspect, but say they arecurious about how he spotted the fire when firefighters arriving later had a difficult time finding evidence of it.

They say they are also hoping that resolving this crime might lead to the solution of others.