The Georgia Fire Marshal told News Leader 9 a massive blaze that happened Sunday morning at Manchester Textile Mill was caused by an arsonist.
Fire departments from all over Meriwether and Harris counties responded to the fire that turned the old mill in Manchester into a blazing inferno. Flames rose as tall as the smokestacks on the historic building, collapsing walls and creating a dangerous situation for firefighters.
The building was in the process of being torn down for salvage, with only a few spaces near the façade occupied by local businesses. Investigators are trying to determine what started this fire, but they believe no demolition work occurred anytime recent enough to have sparked the blaze.
"We were able to save the art studio, the community room that we have a lot of functions in, and also the deli restaurant that we were able to save on the other side here, with no damage. You can tell by the still photos there was a lot of heavy, high fire," said Captain Ben Williams of the Manchester Fire Department. "It was all early 1900's, late 1800's construction. There were a lot of unstable walls collapsing and a lot of variables that made it very difficult to fight."
Firefighters were unable to access parts in the rear of the structure and they predict the rubble will continue to burn for several more days. Adjacent businesses received only smoke and water damage.
Viewers Johnny Craven, Adrian Baker, and Keith Redd took photos of the fire when it began.
The historic mill was 103 years old, erected in 1909. It once manufactured automotive fabrics and has been closed since 2002.
No one was inside the building at the time the fire started around 4:20 a.m.
Officials say they have no leads at the moment, but anyone with information is asked to call the arson hotline at 800-282-5804. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction of a suspect or suspects.
Sunday, May 19 2013 11:31 PM EDT2013-05-20 03:31:42 GMT
Relatives and dozens of Beech Island community members gathered today in front of Island Cuts Barbershop to remember Zann Worrell. "I was totally surprised and very happy that everybody came out becauseMore >>
Dozens of Beech Island residents gathered tonight to remember Zann Worrell, who was fatally shot in his barbershop on Saturday afternoon.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 6:18 PM EDT2013-05-19 22:18:38 GMT
Aiken County deputies say they searched with New Ellenton police officers for two armed men who shot dogs on Sizemore Avenue on Saturday night. Aiken County deputies say they started searching for the suspectsMore >>
UPDATE: Neighbors are shocked after two suspects shot three dogs in a New Ellenton neighborhood Saturday night. More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 4:20 PM EDT2013-05-19 20:20:12 GMT
One person has been transported to the hospital after being shot at Axis Barbershop in Beech Island. Aiken County dispatch said it happened around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. There are at least two suspects,More >>
Aiken County Coroner's office has confirmed that 32 year old Zann Worrell Jr. of North Augusta died at GRU Medical Center on May 18, 2013 at 3:37 p.mMore >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 3:11 PM EDT2013-05-19 19:11:10 GMT
Richmond County Dispatch confirms there has been a stabbing at a Family Dollar. Deputies say it happened on the 2900 block of Dean's Bridge Road around 7:18 tonight. Information is limited at this tiMore >>
UPDATE: Richmond County investigators said Tonya S. Terry was stabbed several times in the chest area inside the Family Dollar on Dean's Bridge Road Saturday evening.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:04 AM EDT2013-05-19 14:04:50 GMT
Richmond County dispatch received a call around 7:20 a.m. that the Millbrook Apartment building was on fire located off of Skinner Mill Road. Firefighters were on the scene until around 8:30 a.m. No injuriesMore >>
Richmond County dispatch received a call around 7:20 a.m. that the Millbrook Apartment building was on fire located off of Skinner Mill Road.
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:23 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:23:19 GMT
A fundraiser was held Saturday in honor of Wesley Spires. Local firefighters held a boot drive to honor their fellow volunteer firefighter who remains in critical condition after he was beaten by whatMore >>
A fundraiser was held Saturday in honor of Wesley Spires. Local firefighters held a boot drive to honor their fellow volunteer firefighter who remains in critical condition after he was beaten by what investigators said was a bat along the Augusta Riverwalk on May 3rd.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:05:19 GMT
Instead of spending the day at the computer, some Augustans spent their day learning about it. People gathered at the Imperial Theater for Web Afternoon. Mayor Deke Copenhaver gave remarks about Augusta'sMore >>
People gathered at the Imperial Theater for Web Afternoon. Mayor Deke Copenhaver gave remarks about Augusta's growth in the technology sector.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 5:55 PM EDT2013-05-18 21:55:44 GMT
Michael Robert Bradford, an employee of DynCorp International, has been killed in Afghanistan.Bradford was a Grovetown resident, according to information from a DynCorp spokesperson.The spokesperson toldMore >>
Michael Robert Bradford, an employee of DynCorp International, has been killed in Afghanistan.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:47 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:47:31 GMT
Georgia Power crews are working to fix power lines at William Few Parkway and Knob Hill that were struck from a car crash around 9 a.m. Saturday. Columbia County dispatch said two cars were involved withMore >>
Georgia Power crews are working to fix power lines at William Few Parkway and Knob Hill that were struck from a car crash around 9 a.m. Saturday.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:40 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:40:22 GMT
Richmond County Sheriff's Office released the following information in regards to Deputy Creech: Sheriff Roundtree and the family of Deputy Alton Daniel Creech would like to thank everyone within our community forMore >>
Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way Extension, Augusta, Georgia on Tuesday morning, May 21, 2013 at 11am. Deputy Creech will lie in state for one hour prior to the service.More >>