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Investigators Say Newton Fires Were Result of Arson

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NEWTON GROVE, N.C. — Two early morning fires inSampsonCounty destroyed two buildings. Now, despite the fact that no oneapparently saw anything at either site, fire investigators are looking foran 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 BuildingSupply. It and all of its contents were completely destroyed in Tuesdaymorning's fire.

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

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

Wayne Stewart, owner of the destroyed building supply company, has adifficult time looking at the rubble. He says the fire costhim about $150,000.

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

Anyone with information that might help to solve this crime is asked tocall the Sampson County Fire Marshal's office at910-592-8996. With someflames still active at the two sites Tuesday night, that office is waitinguntil Wednesday to search for clues in the rubble.

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