March 1, 2005 First responders to a fire in Altona early Saturday morning discovered a "trailer" running straight into the site of the blaze.
A "trailer" is a trail of flammable material laid from the targeted area to a distance where the arsonist can start the fire, Fire Inspector Richard Lindo said Tuesday.
"The trailer was a definite indication to me that the fire was of suspicious origin,." Lindo said.
The trailer ended at the office and warehouse of Roy's Construction, adjacent to the former Island Block building.
Several of those affected by the suspected arson said Tuesday they are pleased with how quickly the fire was contained.
Gerald Roy, the construction company's owner, said the damage was not nearly as bad as it could have been. He attributes his luck to his neighbor's ADT security system and the quick response from the Fire Department.
Lindo agreed, "The first responders did an excellent job in containing the fire to keep it from spreading."
Haniff Mohammed, owner of AA Supplies next door to Roy's, was emphatic that his new security system had paid for itself already. Mohammed's damage was limited to smoke. He said, "Most everything is salvageable." He was also complementary of the fire fighters. "They got here even before anyone else," he said. "We were really lucky."
Teri Golden, owner of Sassy Souvenirs, was still assessing the smoke damage Tuesday afternoon but was confident that the fire was only a temporary set back.
"We've been through all kinds of things before: floods, hurricanes – Sassy survives," she said.
Sassy's other owner, Dick Golden, said insurance assessments had already been done, and he expects to have the results back very soon. He said the situation for he and Teri was a bit different because Sassy's is "all inventory," but that he didn't expect any prolonged interruption to the business.
Roy said in the 15 years he has been at the Altona location, he "never had an incident." He lost a few pieces of equipment in Saturday's fire, he said, and there was damage to his office, but no structural damage. He said he could "wipe down" mostly everything else. "It's just one heck of a mess with the soot."
He said he had no clue as to who might have wanted to set a fire at his business, but said he was confident the arsonist would be caught.
Both Hotel and Lima Companies responded to the alarm, according to Lindo, who said the investigation into the suspected arson was ongoing. "We are not leaving any stone unturned."
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