Reward offered in Carter Bros. arson case

Published 6:25 am Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A new $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or people, responsible for starting a fire that ravaged the Carter Brothers Manufacturing Company in 2010.

Carter Brothers, once located in Hamilton Crossroads, was one of the nation’s largest go-cart manufacturing plants.

“Unfortunately, unlike shootings, arsons are a little different,” said Sybil McNeil, a senior special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “Sometimes people don’t see arson as a crime, or they forget easily. We have to get it back in the minds of people.”

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On July 12, 2010, firefighters spent 12 hours trying to contain flames that had engulfed the company’s warehouse. Days later, investigators determined the cause of the fire was “incendiary,” which means someone started the blaze.

At the time of the fire, Carter Brothers employed about 43 people. Damage was estimated to be between $16 and $20 million.

“A lot of times people look at fires and assume they are accidental,” McNeil said. “This was definitely arson. This was a crime.”

But, the 2010 arson wasn’t the first time the company had seen hardship. Tornados in 1989 and 2006 caused a rebuild and a destructive accidental fire on Dec. 19, 2000, destroyed the 55,000-square foot manufacturing and assembly plant. Twelve fire-fighting units worked that incident and no one suffered injuries in the fire.

Carter Brothers Manufacturing Company once sold between 30,000 and 40,000 go-carts on an annual basis and in 2000 employed between 150 and 200 people.

McNeil said there is no statute of limitations for arson, so the ATF and State Fire Marshal’s Office will be investigating until the case is solved.

People with information about the fire are asked to call 800-654-0775 or 888-ATF-FIRE.