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SBI seeks culprit(s) after ruling that arson caused fire totaling shop owned by sheriff’s candidate searches for culprit(s)
Thursday, 03 January 2019 12:08

From Staff Reports

WEAVERVILLE — The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation on Nov. 30 announced that it has ruled — as arson — a fire that burned down the Weaverville business of then-Buncombe County sheriff candidate Shad Higgins.

The SBI statement said the fire at Weaverville Tire and Wheel was “an intentional act and criminal in nature,” according to WLOS-TV’s News 13.

The press release also noted that “the cause of the fire was determined by fire investigators to be incendiary (an intentional act and criminal in nature).”

The fire was reported at the tire company, owned by Higgins, a Republican candidate, at 4:45 a.m. Oct. 26 — less than two weeks before Election Day. 

Local agencies asked the SBI to take the lead in the investigation, based on the nature of the blaze and its timing related to the election.

The SBI is asking for help from anyone with more information about the fire, or witnesses who may have seen someone at or vehicles or pedestrians near the business at 176 Old Mars Hill Highway between 2-4:45 a.m. Oct. 26, according to the release. 

Those with information should call (828) 330-4556 and leave a message.

The SBI provided no further details.

No one was injured in the fire, but the business appeared to be a total loss. 

“It’s all gone; everything is gone,” Kenny Murray, manager of the tire shop, told reporters the morning after the fire.

A GoFundMe campaign launched after the blaze has raised nearly $13,000 to date.

Higgins’ business reopened in a temporary location just four days after the fire. 

By a landslide margin, Democrat Quentin Miller went on to win the sheriff’s race.



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