Officials: Massive fire at Iredell Co. warehouse ‘likely’ arson

Investigators: Statesville warehouse fire 'likely' arson

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Crews fought a large fire at a warehouse in Iredell County Monday afternoon that officials say could have been set intentionally.

The fire broke out around 11 a.m. at the old FCX building near W Front Street and Newton Drive. It is unclear exactly what caused the fire, but officials said the building - which was used for storage - had no power going to it.

Officials said they got reports that four people may have been seen running away from the building around the time the fire started. No descriptions or further information about those people has been released.

The FCX distribution center closed decades ago but was declared a superfund cleanup site after pesticides and other chemicals were found in the soil. Cleanup efforts did take place, say officials and the site is monitored. Fire officials did not believe it was an issue for firefighters while working the fire on Monday.

“Those are things that were in the ground and the fire stayed above the concrete,” said Battalion Fire Chief Josh Smith.

After FCX closed, the warehouse has been used for storage of construction materials including vinyl siding. Burning vinyl could have been the cause of the thick black smoke, said one fire official.

As for the cause leaning towards arson, investigators said the fact there was no electricity is a red flag that points to that.

Neighbor Butch Campbell, who has stored items there and helped others who have, says it would not surprise him if someone had been in the building who was not supposed to be there.

“I’ve run people out of there the past several years,” he said.

Federal and State Investigators are helping to make a final determination of the cause. It could be days, or longer, said officials before that work is complete. .

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