The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

November 5, 2013

Belle Mina gym arson still under investigation

Authorities said they are still investigating the Oct. 14 arson fire in the gymnasium of the former Mooresville-Belle Mina School on Mooresville Road.

Steve Holt, a spokesman for the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office, said Monday the official cause of the fire is arson.

“The fire was intentionally set,” Holt said. “No arrests have been made in the case, and for that reason the investigation remains open. We are continuing to investigate some leads.”

Capt. Stanley McNatt with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office said the department’s investigators spoke to some of the juveniles reportedly seen at the property within 24 hours of the blaze.

McNatt said the investigation remains active and encouraged anyone with tips about the arson to call the Sheriff’s Office at 256-232-0111.

The property is owned by Limestone County Schools, which closed the school in 1991. The Board of Educated approved on Oct. 17 a request by Superintendent Dr. Tom Sisk to designate demolition of the gym as an emergency expense.

This designation allowed the superintendent to hire Hawkins Groundwork in Athens to remove the gym, which was still intact but sustained heavy structural and interior damage.

Sisk previously described the gym as “a total loss” and “a liability.” He said Monday the structure was removed within a week of securing the board’s approval for a $15,000 maximum contract with Hawkins.

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