Fire investigators: Vacant Charlotte school fire intentionally s - | WBTV Charlotte

Fire investigators: Vacant Charlotte school fire intentionally set

(Micah Smith | WBTV) (Micah Smith | WBTV)

A fire that broke out at an old school building north of uptown Charlotte late Tuesday night was intentionally set, the Charlotte Fire Department confirms, causing $175,00 worth of damage.

Arson investigators were called to the building on Prince Hall Avenue near Statesville Avenue, where smoke could be seen pouring out of the building. 

“We heard a commotion and went in our backyard and saw the smoke everywhere,” Ashel Sommermann said. Sommermann's home backs up to the school.

The Charlotte Fire Department says the school has been vacant since January. 

“If they do it at the school, what says it can’t happen here?,” Andrew Miller said, who lives next to the school.

“I was extremely worried because I have two young children,” Christine Bass said, who is a neighbor. “It could have been across the street, it could have been next door.”

It took 52 firefighters nearly two hours to get the fire under control.  Extra firefighters were called when a second alarm was issued, around 12:34 a.m. 

No injuries were reported. 

People that live in the area say they have witnessed people sneaking into the old school, jumping the fences or coming in through spaces in the fencing.

“There are parties back there and we get things ending up in our yard,” Sommermann said. 

Many neighbors hope this is a wake-up call for city and county leaders to do something with the property. People that live nearby say that area of Charlotte has been improving over the past two decades.

“They let it go. I did not see a lot of upkeep on it,” Miller said. “I hope that they renovate it and open it back up.”

“I have faith and have hope in the city of Charlotte will do more with that area,” Bass said. 

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