State officials still seeking clues in Carter Brothers fire

Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Alabama State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk said Wednesday that sooner is always better in solving a crime but his office goes where the evidence leads.

“My belief is that we will develop the evidence to solve this case,” Paulk said of the July 12 fire that destroyed the warehouse facility at Carter Brothers Manufacturing at Hamilton Crossrads. “And, when we do, the whole world will know it because we will put somebody in jail.”

On July 19, state and federal investigators determined that arson was the cause of the fire that caused the $16 to $20 worth of damage to the facility. Since then, they’ve been seeking answers.

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Paulk said one domino needs to fall, and he is looking for that domino.

“The investigation is on-going and, as we continue to look for the individual or individuals responsible, we want to encourage anyone who has any information that could be of value to contact the state fire marshal’s office at 1-800-654-0775 or on our website,” Paulk said.

“We will look at the information and determine if there is any connection to the crime. It might be that it is the little bit of information that we need to make a strong case.”

Paulk said the crime of arson is often tough to prove.

“That’s the reason that there is no statue of limitations for the crime,” he said. “Given ample time, we can make a case and get a conviction. I was involved in one case that took 13 years to solve. I don’t care if you’re 91 years old, I’ve got a place to put you.”

Paul said the crime of arson is a costly one for many people. Insurance rates are based upon losses, including those that are attributed to the crime of arson. Prosecution of crimes of arson can help reduce future crimes and future loses. “Any information is important to us,” he said.

The July 12 fire was the second major fire at Carter Brothers Manufacturing Company in 10 years. The first fire was determined accidental.