Town of Wallace offering $10,000 reward for arrest of arsonist

Reported by Kristy Ondo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

DUPLIN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Late Thursday night, the Wallace town council decided to offer a $10,000 reward for an arrest leading to the conviction of an arsonist.

The State Bureau of Investigation has not officially ruled the latest fire as arson, but town council members are treating it as such.  They believe one person has set three fires in less than three months.

The town of Wallace will be putting up the reward money.

Two fires have already been confirmed as arson, and the third broke out Thursday morning.

The Woman's Club in Wallace has been around since the 1930s and is best known for the hundreds of holiday parties and receptions held inside its walls.

Around 5:00 Thursday morning, the Wallace Fire Department responded to a call that the Woman's Club was on fire.  The flames were out within an hour, but the damage was already done.

"The roof had already collapsed," said Wallace Town Manager Ken Cornatzer.  "They had called in the state SBI, and they were doing their initial examination of the scene."

Losing the landmark is troubling to such a tight-knight community, but the fact that this is the third building to burn in recent months has people concerned.

Two other buildings on the same street have gone up in flames earlier this fall.  Authorities believe an arsonist is responsible for the fire at the old Ice House and the Builder's Discount Supply.

The cause of the fire to the Woman's Club isn't official yet, but residents believe it could be arson.

"I mean, for all of these things to happen, I just don't think it's a coincidence," said resident Barbara Bradshaw.

Stay with WECT and for more details as they become available.

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