Facts have been gathered and the Leader's Roundtable meeting just ended. Here's the latest update, but first and foremost: Asheville Fire Department and Police Department ask community members who see suspicious activity or who have information about recent fires to please report it.
The April 5, 2013 fire heavily damaged two buildings on New Belgium’s Craven St. property. The Penland’s Auction House was completely destroyed and the hay barn across the site was partially destroyed. Wood floors in the Penland’s Auction House, slated for reuse in the brewery, were one of the largest losses of the fire, emotionally and financially. Investigators believe the fire was intentionally set. New Belgium is aware that there have been multiple fires in the area recently.
In reviewing the site security with the Asheville Fire Department (AFD) and A+P (site contractor), the site is considered secure as it is. In August of 2012, we hired a private security firm to monitor the site. March 1, we hired off-duty Asheville police officers in addition to our private security firm to monitor the security of the site.
Since the April 5, 2013 fire that was intentionally set on our site, we have increased off-duty Asheville police officers who are continuously monitoring the site. To maintain security, APD has recommended that we not make public exact details of site security operations.
Loss of Materials
One of the more disheartening aspects from a damage perspective is that many of the materials from the auction house have been slated for recovery by Old World Architectural Salvage here in Asheville. There is still much to recover, and we will continue working together to harvest what is left to the work schedule on site has gone uninterrupted. Debris from the fire will be removed with approval from AFD.
LEADER'S ROUND TABLE
- In August of 2012, we hired a private security firm to monitor the site. March 1, we hired off-duty Asheville police officers in addition to our private security firm to monitor the security of the site.
- Since the April 5, 2013 fire that was intentionally set on our site, we have increased off-duty Asheville police officers who are continuously monitoring the site. To maintain security, APD has recommended that we not make public exact details of site security operations.
- New Belgium is currently investigating some limited on-site lighting. It is an OSHA requirement to disable utilities on site until site demolition is complete.
- There have been more than eight fires in the area recently and several have been determined to have been intentionally set. We are not alone in being vulnerable to aberrant activity. Ultimately, we are responsible for the security of our site and we have implemented all security measures advocated by APD and AFD, as well as gone beyond those recommendations in some cases.
The Leader's Roundtable is a coalition of official neighborhood and business associations that are adjacent to the site that has been meeting with New Belgium since July 2012. These meetings are not public, though the Leader's Roundtable minutes are publicly published under the FAQ section of this website under "Stay Informed." Leader's Roundtable members are also listed at that link. Elected leaders from the associations attend the meetings.
The intent of the Leader's Roundtable is to work directly with elected community leaders from structured organizations to build on-going, meaningful dialogue and gather community consensus from those who represent community members. The group works through challenges, shares information, and the organizations provide information to their members as well as bring member questions and topics to the meetings. Minutes from the meeting will be posted soon.
Media at today's meeting:
Today, due to the intentionally set fires around the community, we had two last minute media requests to attend the Leader's Roundtable. New Belgium, AFD and APD were open to it given the larger issue of fires. We took a consensus from the leaders who have been engaged in the Leader's Roundtable and had literally a split opinion on whether or not to open the meeting to a few media representatives. We decided to open the meeting up half-way through to one representative from each local media outlet and not allow cameras or recording devices. The option was offered to media at the last minute, in attendance were: Asheville Citizen Times, Ashvegas, WLOS-TV, and West Asheville Watch. So, look for updates from those outlets as well.