Abandoned gym fire believed to be arson - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Abandoned gym fire believed to be arson

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Firefighters battle the abandoned gym fire in Limestone County early Monday morning. Firefighters battle the abandoned gym fire in Limestone County early Monday morning.

Investigators believe arson to be the cause of a fire at an abandoned gym in Limestone County.

On Monday, firefighters put out a fire that started in the gymnasium of what used to be the Belle Mina School.

According to Sheriff Mike Blakely, the man who is negotiating to buy the property from the Limestone Co. school board saw four teen males in a red and gray Toyota 4Runner late Sunday afternoon. The man told them to leave. Later, he told two women and two men in a gold Kia or Camry to leave as well.

The building was heavily damaged in the fire.

The state fire marshal's office says samples of evidence have been collected and are being analyzed at the state lab.

The sheriff's office said they believe the fire was intentionally set, in part because electricity had long been shut off to the building.

"We are offering a reward, if anyone knows any information that might lead to the arrest of the person or persons responsible. Also, we would like the persons who were down there to get in touch with the Sheriff's Office," said Sheriff Blakely.

Anyone with information about the case should call the state arson hotline at 1-800-654-0775 or the Sheriff's Office at 256-232-0111.

Dr. Thomas Sisk, Superintendent of Limestone Co. Schools, said he is not sure if the fire will affect negotiations with the potential buyer, but they will discuss the matter next week. The school board will discuss whether to tear the burnt gym down for safety reasons during Tuesday night's board meeting.

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