Blaze destroys building, truck; manager suspects arson

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A morning fire on Tuesday destroyed a storage building located behind a home on 181 Sneed Hill Road. The building was fully engulfed in flames and was destroyed by the time firefighters from the Hampton-Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene.
   An early 70s model Dodge dump truck, which was parked near the building, was also burned in the blaze.
   The property, building and truck all belonged to the Storie Land Partnership, which is the executor of an estate. Kennetha Robinson, who manages the property for the Storie Land Partnership, said she suspects arson was the cause of the fire.
   "We've had some vandalism on the property of the Storie Land Partnership. Two of the heirs of the partnership have had their boats vandalized," Robinson said, adding that windows have recently been broken and that, on different occasions, the gates to a pasture have been unlocked and left open, allowing cattle to run loose. "This has been an ongoing thing; not to this extent though, for about two weeks."
   Robinson said she and others affiliated with the Storie Land Partnership have seen the individuals vandalizing the property. She said she saw two individuals driving in a reckless manner on Sneed Hill Road, away from the location of the fire, as she was going to the property to check on it. "When I was coming up here, the two suspects almost hit me head on," she said. "I had to swerve to keep from having a head on collision. I got a good look at the driver."
   According to Robinson, the two suspects who she believes are behind the recent vandalisms and the fire on Tuesday are both juvenile males. "What I want to know is, why weren't these kids in school? Because they are juveniles," she said.
   Robinson also said she had seen the vehicle in which the two subjects were riding in areas where the other vandalisms had occurred. "It's been seen in this vicinity, and we've had problems with these boys before," she said.
   She described the vehicle as a late 80s or early 90s model red Ford Bronco or Chevrolet Blazer.
   According to firefighters on the scene, because the building was not wired with electricity and no battery was found in the truck, the fire was not believed to be electrical in nature.
   A police report on the incident had not been filed as of Tuesday evening.