Arson Ruled Out In Kinston Law Firm Fire

Authorities have ruled out arson as a possible cause in a fire Tuesday morning that heavily damaged a lawyer's office.

Fire crews were called around 3:00 a.m. to the offices of George Jenkins on East Gordon Street in downtown Kinston. Flames were leaping from the building.

Assistant Fire Chief Don Crawford says officially the cause of the fire is listed as undetermined, but he says it was non-intentional and they don't suspect arson.

He said the two story building had major damage, but believes the building could be fixed with an overhaul.

Jenkins says the building is about 150 years old.

No one was injured in the fire.

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Firefighters said they had to cut through the walls of a Kinston law firm with chainsaws Tuesday morning to control the blaze.

Kinston Police Commander Frank Darden said he was the first to see flames leaping at 111 East Gordon Street around 3 a.m. Tuesday in downtown Kinston. That is the office of attorney George Jenkins.

Police cars and fire trucks blocked part of North McLewean to traffic so firefighters had enough space on the downtown street to extinguish the flames.

Jenkins says the building is about 150 years old. He said his family and employees are safe, and everything can be rebuilt. Jenkins doesn't yet know if the building is a total loss or not.

Assistant Fire Chief Don Crawford said it took 10 to 15 minutes to contain the blaze and the building needs major repair.

Crawford said his crews arrived to find the fire was burning inside the walls, which rapidly spread flames between the first and second floors.

Firefighters had to use a chainsaw to cut into the wall in order to reach the fire, according to Crawford.

Fire calls on this street are not new to firefighters.

According to Assistant Chief Crawford, there were at least three more fires on East Gordon Street that happened in July of 2012, all on the same stretch.

Police said the building that burned Tuesday morning is not close to any homes.

Crawford says they have pinpointed the origin of the fire, but are still looking for the exact cause. He said they should know something later today.

The fire is under investigation.