Local News

Suspected Arson Found to Be Electrical Problem

Posted August 15, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A shocking sight today for Cary police. Four city work trucks were burned until only their charred frame remained. SBI arson investigators spent Friday looking for clues. They found them and closed their case.

SBI arson investigators say no criminal activity caused Thursday night's fire at the city utility lot. It appears to be some type of electrical problem that led to nearly $100,000 in damage. The situation is not as bad as it looked at first, but the city is still left with a relatively expensive mess.

The town of Cary is short four trucks. There's not a whole lot left of the pick-ups that were used by sanitation and utilities supervisors. A Cary police officer was filling his car with gas at the city lot, when he heard a boom.

Lieutenant Steve Lee says the officer described the blast as sounding like a shotgun. The officer proceeded into the lot, then heard another boom. As he crested the hill, he was able to see that he had flames coming from the back of the building.

Investigators couldn't do much in the dark. They returned in the daylight to sift for clues. An SBI arson expert did the digging. His investigation concluded that no criminal activity was involved. Mike Clark drives one of the trucks that burned.

Clark says he was concerned to find his truck burned severely when he came in to work, especially since it's a brand new vehicle.

Cary police and town officials were very concerned. Someone targeting city property could've been a big problem.

Lieutenant Lee says any time there's a fire in an isolated area, especially one in the middle of the night with nothing else around it, it's considered suspicious.

It wasn't arson. No one was hurt, but it had the potential to be a lot worse. Cary's gasoline supply for the city fleet is nearby the location where the fire started. If the officer hadn't come along when he did, the situation could've been a lot worse.