Posted: Tuesday, September 25th 2012 at 2:11am
Three arrested after fires at 'potentially significant historic' Baldwin building
By Rob Moore Editor
Firefighters exit the former Carwood Manufacturing facility near downtown Baldwin shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday. (Photo/Rob Moore)
BALDWIN – Three people are in police custody after being caught at the former Carwood Manufacturing facility in Baldwin, where fires were discovered around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday.
“The building’s actually been boarded up for several months, and just on routine patrol [we] observed the back door had been busted in,” said Josh Ivey of Baldwin Police Department at the scene. “I’m a firefighter also. When I made entry, I felt the heat hit me in the face – knew we had a fire in there. I had an intern that’s with us, actually a brand new officer, come back out and call for help.”
Officers from Alto, Baldwin and Cornelia police departments responded, along with deputies from the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office. Fire personnel from
Baldwin Fire Department and Habersham County Station 12 (View) also responded.
“As we were searching the bottom, we had three subjects escape out an upstairs window onto the roof,” Ivey said. “They’ve all three been taken into custody.”
Ivey said at the scene that officers had not determined initially whether the two males and one female were squatters, or whether they were in the building for other purposes.
“They did have some drugs in their possession, and they’ve admitted to starting the fire in there, but we’re still looking at everything else,” Ivey said.
Firefighters remained on the scene for about an hour, with the last unit in the station just before 12:30 a.m.
Asked whether it appeared to be a heating fire, Ivey said, “There was more than one spot, so that’s a little unusual for just a heating fire.”
Names of those in custody were not available at the scene.
The three-story former Carwood Manufacturing facility was identified in a 2008 Georgia Department of Community Affairs document as one of quite a few “potentially significant historic structures” that exist in and around downtown Baldwin.
“The former Carwood Manufacturing plant is a great opportunity for redevelopment,” the DCA document states. “All over the country, these types of buildings are being converted to residential or mixed-use spaces with commercial uses on the ground floor and residences on the upper floors.”
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