Arson Ruled In Second Imperial Tobacco Fire

Fire investigators now confirm that this past weekend's fire at the old Imperial Tobacco Warehouse was in fact arson.

The fire, which began Saturday, burned the remained of the once-sprawling tobacco facility near downtown Greenville.

It is the second arson fire to strike the old tobacco facility in just over a year. Last April an arsonist set fire to the main part of the facility, though no one was ever charged in that fire.

The latest fire happened just a day after workers imploded a 200 foot brick smokestack at the site.


No arrests of suspects have been named in what fire investigators say was a suspicious fire at the Imperial Warehouse over the weekend in Greenville.

Monday, contractors started breaking away at the delicate brick walls of the only remaining part of the Imperial Tobacco Warehouse.

While a year ago a part of the structure was destroyed by an arsonist, the other part of it was still salvageable and used to store plastics and paper products to make diapers.

The owner of the warehouse, Mike Wilson, watched fire investigators again try to determine why someone would torch their building again.

Wilson says they never had insurance on the warehouse, so all the clean up cost will be out of pocket.

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Demolition crews were on the scene Sunday as the fire was finally put out at the Imperial Warehouse in Greenville.

Deputy Chief Sandy Harris of Greenville Fire and Rescue says mostly demolition contractors were on the scene Sunday, along with a small group of firefighters.

The blaze was put out Saturday night. Sunday, firefighters were dealing with a few hot spots.

Harris says the building had been used as a storage facility and some of the materials were very flammable.

Harris would not say who is being investigated but did say they are speaking with some people of interest.

"We began the investigation (Saturday)," Harris said. "There have been some people questioned with their possible roles in it."

Fire crews will be monitoring the building overnight.

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Greenville - The Greenville Fire Department is battling a fire at what's left of the old Imperial Warehouse. Officials are not yet saying what the cause of the fire might be.

Fire officials said at noon Sunday they have a handle on the blaze.

The warehouse is located off Atlantic Avenue in downtown Greenville.

Only a year ago, most of the warehouse was burned down by arsonists and on Friday the smokestack next to the warehouse was imploded.

Officials say it could be hours before they get the fire completely out.

No evacuations were ordered in this weekend's fire.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous Location: Greenville on May 21, 2009 at 02:52 AM
    Don't we have better things to worry over than some old empty building? I am so tired od hearing about this over and over-it is empty,it is burned down,again,-just get the mess cleaned up and get on with something else. Hay I got an idea--let sell the bricks from the old smoke stack and SOMEONE can make some money off of it.Maybe that money could be sent to Perdue to pay for another working vacation. Or maybe we should all start worry about the digital tv thing. Help!!!
  • by Moderators Nightmare on May 18, 2009 at 05:51 PM
    You didn't need a key to get in the place. I spoke with Jimmy Davis, and he said he walked right past a guy asleep on a large table. He didn't realize someone was there until the blankets flew off of the guy, and he ran out, and this was in the section that just burned.
  • by to "on-looker" Location: greenville on May 17, 2009 at 01:52 PM
    Did you see personally see this man with the key open the gate? If so, I hope that you reported it to authorities, rather than just anonymously discussing it on a message board. If you witnessed a car accident, would you report it, or just drive off?
  • by Mortie Location: Rocky Hock on May 17, 2009 at 11:13 AM
    Would be interesting to see pics of the place over the years and today. Mortie
  • by Derek Location: winterville on May 17, 2009 at 07:18 AM
    i was actually driving around at the time the fire started and just before it started, i saw a lightning bolt over towards that area...idk if that may be the reason
  • by hmmm Location: greenville on May 17, 2009 at 01:19 AM
    At least with it burning, the city and tax payers are paying for the rest of the cleanup, rather than the owners.
  • by Moderators Nightmare on May 16, 2009 at 08:40 PM
    There's very little doubt that it is arson. No electricity was going to the building.
  • by jb Location: greenville on May 16, 2009 at 05:23 PM
    no one said it's not arson...hmmm
  • by On-looker Location: Greenville on May 16, 2009 at 03:07 PM
    If it's not arson, wasn't it handy to have the guy who had the key to the gate, open it up right as the fire started? hmmm...
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