Carter Brothers takes insurance company to federal court

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Carter Brothers Manufacturing Company is in federal court this week in Montgomery in an attempt to collect settlement money from the Lumberman’s Insurance Group.

The jury trial began on Monday and was expected to last until at least Friday.

Investigators declared the fire that ravaged Carter Brothers in 2010 was arson, but no one has been charged in the crime.

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

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 million and $20 million.

And 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.

In April, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced a $5,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or people, responsible for starting the fire. 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