Investigators say the fire that destroyed part of a historic mill in West Hillsborough on Friday has been deemed suspicious, although they still have not pinpointed the cause.
The investigation is continuing, but the property at 202 S. Nash St. has been released to its owner.
“We know about where the fire started and what was there and what wasn’t,” Hillsborough Fire Marshal Jerry Wagner said Thursday.
Police are investigating leads as to who may have caused the fire from information obtained last weekend, according to a town news release.
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Anyone with additional information, including video of the fire that may show something of significance, is asked to contact the Fire Marshal’s Office or Hillsborough Police Department by calling the fire marshal at 919-241-4801 or Investigations Commander Lt. Scott Nicolaysen at 919-732-9381, ext. 30
The owner of the former Bellevue Manufacturing Company textile mill is concerned about theft from the property as people may try to take memorabilia from the site, Wagner said.
“They realize people are curious, but curiosity doesn’t give anybody permission to trespass or take anything,” he said. “This is private property, and any theft or trespassing will be prosecuted.”
Additionally, the site is unsafe as a large amount of debris still remains from the burned building’s collapsed roof and walls. The 30,000-square-foot room that was destroyed was one of four buildings at the mill. Eight fire departments responded to the fire, which was reported shortly before 5 p.m. and contained by about 7:20 p.m. No other buildings were affected, and there were no injuries.
The Bellevue mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated by the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners as a local historic landmark. Its destroyed weave room was built as an addition in 1920. The complex is slated to be transformed into apartments.