4.8 @ 8:00 a.m. Update: General Manager Jay Richardson assessed site damage and security first thing Sunday morning with A+P, Fire Chiefs Burnette and Cowan, as well as the deconstruction project managers. The details of the fire and arson were discussed, as well as the security of the site. Richardson will meet with the Leader’s Roundtable Monday evening to review information. In this picture, they are reviewing details of the fire and materials lost in the former Penland Auction House building.
4.6 @ 4:30 p.m. Update: The Asheville Fire Department has informed New Belgium that the fires appear to have been intentionally set and that they are investigating the incident.
Fire damaged two separate buildings on New Belgium’s Craven Street construction site in Asheville after a blaze broke out around 11:00 pm on Friday, April 5th. No injuries were reported and Asheville Fire Department had the blaze fully contained by 4:00 am. The Penland Auction House and a hay barn were heavily damaged (photos below). Investigators are calling the fire suspicious. New Belgium Asheville General Manager, Jay Richardson, is flying in to meet with community leaders and fire officials.
“The safety of our contractors and of our friends and neighbors in the community is our top priority,” said Richardson. “We will work closely with Asheville Fire Department officials to determine the cause of the blaze. We will put every available resource into securing a safe working environment so that construction will continue on schedule and uninterrupted.”
New Belgium has been paying for increased security by off-duty Asheville Police Department personnel and a private security firm since February, 2013. In light of several recent suspicious fires in the area, New Belgium will pay to increase those existing patrols. Damage to fencing has been repaired and the site is currently locked and considered secure.
The Auction House was set for disassembly this spring. Materials were to be used on-site and repurposed by Old World Architectural Salvage of Asheville.
“The loss of those materials is certainly disheartening,” said Richardson. “This event only focuses our efforts to revitalize this site into a place that will truly make Asheville proud.”
Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to contact the Buncombe County Crimestoppers: Lt. Randy Smart, 828-778-0011
**As facts are confirmed, New Belgium will post updates here on their website and Facebook pages.***
Former Penland's Auction House: Before and After
Before Photo by photographer, Zen Sutherland
Hay Barn: Before and After