Federal charges could be brought against those responsible for a recent fire that destroyed several homes in a Mooresville subdivision, said Mooresville Rescue-Fire Marshal Geoff Woolard.
Woolard stated in a news release on Oct. 25 that “investigators from local, state and federal agencies determined the fire which destroyed six homes under construction on Samara Lane was started intentionally and was not an accidental fire.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is leading the investigation, along with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation with the Mooresville Police Department providing support, Woolard said.
On Monday afternoon, he said potential suspects could be charged with more than arson.
“These (arson) charges would be outside of any potential federal charges,” Woolard said.
“Due to the size of the loss (both physical and financial), as well as the fact the corporate ownership is out of state, there may be a consideration of ‘interstate’ commerce. This is one of the reasons for the ATF to be involved and leading the investigation.”
As for state charges, Woolard said second-degree arson covers the burning of an unoccupied dwelling.
He added that because the homes were under construction at the time of the fire, N.C. General Statute 14-62.1 considers the offense a Class H felony.
That reclassification would change possible sentencing of the offense from 8-31 months to 4-25 months, according to criminaldefenselawyer.com.
Woolard also said authorities are unable to identify a person, or persons, of interest related to the investigation at this time. Without a suspect of interest, it is difficult to determine a possible motive.
“Investigators at all levels will continue following up on the case and on any information that becomes available,” Woolard said.
“We are hopeful that someone in the community who has not already come forward will consider the award available through Crime Stoppers and provide the critical pieces of information we need to bring resolution to this investigation.”
Anyone who saw anything suspicious in The Reserve or Ashlyn Creek neighborhoods in the days leading up to or the night of Oct. 22 should call Iredell County Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.
Callers can remain anonymous and a cash reward may be possible.