Tallassee residents happy arson suspect being tried as an adult

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Silence is not something Diane Weldon is used to hearing on the street outside her store.

"It's not a good thing."

She's owned Tiger Paw in downtown Tallassee for 25 years.

It sits right across from what's left of the famous Hotel Talisi.

"It's like the heart of the town.  Everybody comes to the hotel," adds Weldon.

But now caution tape and chained doors are all you see at the entrance.

Authorities charged Dylan Keith Carroll with starting the fire that destroyed the hotel and another building.

Carroll was charged with two counts of Arson, second degree, Arson 3rd, Burglary, and other charges.

Authorities confirm he will be tried as an adult.

Weldon's thankful her store survived and to see Carroll in court.

"We thought surely it would burn all of the downtown area.  I'm very glad he's going to be tried as an adult. I feel like he should be."

"I was elated, " says Tallassee Mayor, George McCain.

Not only was the hotel a landmark, but he says it supplied nearly 3% of the city's sales tax revenues.

The fire's aftermath is taking a toll.

"It quelled a lot of the interest in recruiting businesses down here because there's nothing to offer," he says.

"It's a big loss for the whole town, for the economy of the town.  Fortunately nobody died, but it hurt the economy.  He just shouldn't have done it," adds Weldon.

Hotel owners are planning a meeting in March to decide whether to re-open.

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