Business owners react to Manchester Mill arson fire - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Business owners react to Manchester Mill arson fire

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MERIWETHER COUNTY, GA (WTVM) -

Two days after the historic Manchester Mill was destroyed by fire, the rubble is still smoldering. Firefighters said they expect the hot spots to continue for the next few days.

In the meantime business owner Barbara Smenner, who rents a space inside the mill for The Village Arts Gallery and Studio, said her business sustained minor smoke and water damage.

Another nearby business called The Deli, owned and operated by Kelly Young, sits very close to the mill but wasn't touched.

Now, Smenner is picking up the pieces trying to clean out the messy materials damaged during the fire.

When they both learned the fire was deliberately set, they were in shock.

"That person doesn't realize how many people were hurt by this, but that's okay, we're going to get through," recalled Smenner.

"It would have been horrible had anyone gotten hurt and it was a real possibility as I understand it two of the firefighters who responded early on almost had a wall cave in on them where the fire was already engulfed," stated Young.

The historic building was built 103 years ago and was in the process of being demolished.

The State Insurance and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is now asking anyone with information about the fire to call the arson hotline at 1-800-282-5804.

A $10,000 reward is also being offered for any with information leading to an arrest and conviction of a suspect.

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