Fire marshal puzzled over discovery in Pike Co. warehouse fire

The Carter Brothers warehouse burned to the ground Monday causing some $16 million in damages.
The Carter Brothers warehouse burned to the ground Monday causing some $16 million in damages.

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

BRUNDIDGE, AL (WSFA) - It took a Herculean effort to contain Monday's blaze at Carter Brothers; 12 volunteer fire departments and 60 firefighters.

Now that the smoke has cleared, the search is underway for clues. The state fire marshal's office has sent its command truck and a 27-footer trailer filled with communications equipment to the site in the Hamilton Crossroads community just south of Brundidge.

State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk makes it clear this does not suggest in any way the fire is suspicious.  For now all they see is a large burned out business and they want to find out where it started and how.

"This is not an unusual response. Part of it is communications. This time every year is very stressful on the human element as far as the heat is concerned,' said Paulk.

While investigators say it's too early to know what started the blaze, one fact has come to light.

"The building was not equipped with a sprinkler system. A building that size should have had a sprinkler system," said Paulk.

WSFA 12 News was unable to reach company Vice President of Sales Robert Belmont. Carter Brothers has been in business since 1936 and through the years additions have been made to the plant which spreads over 165,000 square feet.

"Did it effect the starting of the fire? No, but it most certainly would have stopped the spread of the fire," said Paulk.

The blaze cost $16 million in property damage, according to Paulk.

The Carter Brothers plant was closed for the summer break when it caught on fire and at the time it employed around 40 people.

Ed Paulk says in theory they may find out on Wednesday what started the fire or it could take a few weeks.

Carter Brothers makes go-carts, 4-wheelers and scooters. The fire destroyed some 3,000 newly made scooters that were wrapped up in cardboard boxes and plastic.

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