ASHEVILLE, NC—Fire damaged two separate buildings on New Belgium’s Craven Street construction site in Asheville after a blaze broke out around 11 p.m. on Friday. No injuries were reported and Asheville Fire Department had the blaze fully contained by 4 a.m. The Penland Auction House and a hay barn were heavily damaged. Investigators are calling the fire intentional. New Belgium Asheville General Manager, Jay Richardson, is flying in to meet with community leaders and fire officials.
“The safety of our contractors and of our friends and neighbors in the community is our top priority,” said Richardson. “We will work closely with Asheville Fire Department officials to determine the cause of the blaze. We will put every available resource into securing a safe working environment so that construction will continue on schedule and uninterrupted.”
New Belgium has been paying for increased security by off-duty Asheville Police Department personnel and a private security firm since February, 2013. In light of several recent suspicious fires in the area, New Belgium will pay to increase those existing patrols. Damage to fencing has been repaired and the site is currently locked and considered secure.
The Auction House was set for disassembly this spring. Materials were to be used on-site and repurposed by Old World Architectural Salvage of Asheville.
“The loss of those materials is certainly disheartening,” said Richardson. “This event only focuses our efforts to revitalize this site into a place that will truly make Asheville proud.”
Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to contact the Buncombe County Crimestoppers: