Boardwalk Arcade, Restaurant, Damaged By Fire Sept. 25th

Boardwalk Arcade, Restaurant, Damaged By Fire Sept. 25th Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 01 October 2014 04:00

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - Fire destroyed the Arcade at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Thursday morning September 25th just before noon. No one was injured and the fire was largely confined to the Arcade building. Damage to neighboring buildings such as Frank's Pizza had not been fully examined at 1PM but crews were concerned for safety of firefighters. The roof of the Arcade building collapsed. A vacant apartment above the arcade was also destroyed.
The Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and New Hanover County fire departments all responded to the scene along with support from the Wilmington Fire Department.  The Carolina Beach Fire Department was dispatched at 11:29 am and arrived at 11:31:51 am.
Carolina Beach Fire Chief Alan Griffin said, "We've got it down to the area of origin" but have not yet discovered the actual cause of the fire. He said the cause might ultimately be ruled "undetermined."
Griffin said the investigation continues and officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are working to retrieve data from cameras recovered from inside the arcade building.
Griffin said, "We turned over that equipment to ATF and they will take it to their lab in Atlanta. They are professionals and have more experience in that type of data retrieval."
Griffin said he hopes some or all of the footage recorded by the cameras can give investigators a clear picture of where and how the fire started.
Griffin noted that, "Nothing at this time makes us think this was a suspicious fire. It was a natural progression inside the building. It started near the henna tattoo shop area located within the arcade structure."
The tattoo shop was the obvious focal point of the fire. The largest area of the roof that collapsed was above that portion of the arcade building. The henna tattoo shop was added some time ago as a sectioned off retail space within the arcade with separate access.
Fire crews were on scene overnight through 6PM the following day dealing with hot spots that continued to flare up.
The adjacent Frank's Pizza was severely damaged.
A notice posted on their Facebook page September 26th, stated, "We know this goes without saying, but due to the arcade fire, we will be closed indefinitely. The firewall separating us from the arcade stopped the fire from burning straight through, but the fire did climb the firewall and destroyed bits of our roof. We sustained heavy smoke damage and water damage, and our entire left half of our ceiling was knocked down with bits of the roof burnt through. The arcade is a complete loss. We thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers, and will keep you posted on any new information."
The owner of the arcade building - Garland Garrett - and his partners were in Town last week to meet with Town officials on what could be done with the building.
The building was condemned and boarded up last week.
Carolina Beach Mayor Dan Wilcox thanked the fire departments for their hard work and quick response times. He said, "Carolina Beach Fire Department did a great job containing  and dousing the flames" and, "Thanks to the Fire Department response and to Bobby Nivens (Britt's Donuts) for seeing it early and calling 911."
The last major fire in the Boardwalk area was the Astor Hotel fire in June 2005.
A major fire destroyed approximately 30 businesses in the Boardwalk area on September 19th, 1940. County records show the arcade building that burned last week was built in 1941.


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