EAST LAURINBURG – The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office is interviewing witnesses in an attempt to find those responsible for the fire at the site the old Waverly Mills textile plant on Eight Street last week.
Sheriff’s investigators are trying to identify a juvenile or juveniles who may have been involved, according to Major Ruben Castellon chief detective of the criminal investigations division.
Witnesses reported seeing teenagers in the area on the night of April 17 shortly before the blaze that took several hours to get under control.
Investigators do not believe the fire was maliciously set.
“Right now, in my opinion, it looks like it was not an intentional act just something that got out of control,” Castellon said.
Castellon could not give a timeline for completing the investigation.
Fire crews answered a call for a structure fire at 9 p.m. After arriving at the corner Eighth and Commonwealth streets, they determined the fire was the remains of the former textile plant.
Fifty firefighters from Laurinburg fire department along with crews from Wagram and Stewartsville, worked until 3 a.m. Tuesday to put out the blaze.
While firefighters struggled to get the fire at the old mill under control, another fire erupted at a vacant home across the street. Fire crews could not immediately determine whether embers from the mill set the house on fire or if it was deliberately burned.
The heat from the house fire damaged the home of neighbor Debbie Clark, melting and warping her shutters and siding.
Crews had the fire under control by 10:45 p.m., and no injuries were reported from the incident.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169