Arson at old Charlotte elementary school causes $175K in damage

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fire investigators have confirmed that someone intentionally set fire to an old elementary school overnight in north Charlotte.

[IMAGES: Arson investigation at old Charlotte elementary school]

More than 50 firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire after it broke out just before midnight at the school on Prince Hall Avenue.

Channel 9 was first on the scene and could see dozens of firefighters working to get the fire under control, as smoke and flames were visible on the roof of the building.

Firefighters climbed onto the roof and ventilated the building, and it took crews nearly two hours to get the fire under control.

Fire officials told Channel 9 that there was significant damage inside the building, including damage to a classroom, tables, chairs and other equipment. I total, the fire caused an estimated $175,000 in damage.

“They go through a systematic investigation to determine what's caused it and they make their determination and once they make that determination, they start the process to find out who was involved,” said CFD Battalion Chief Shawn Royall.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools still owns the property, which used to be old Statesville Elementary. It was most recently used as a resource center.

Some people who live nearby said they hope the building could be used again in the future.

“I'm sorry because I'm sure that center encompasses a lot of people in the community,” said Sameemah Wilson.

Allister Coleman, who lives nearby with his two kids, said it's sad to have lost a community space.

"I've seen they had kids there before, church there before,” Coleman said.

For years, the school has been available to nonprofits like the Housing Partnership, who most recently used it for a community meeting last year.

Earlier this year, it was used as a resource center.

Coleman said he hopes law enforcement catches the people behind the damage, but also hopes something positive can come out of the space.

"This area is trying to grow,” Coleman said. “It is growing, and maybe that's God's way of putting eyes on it to make it something better.”

CMS police said they are working with CMPD to increase their presence in the area.

No arrests have been made.

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