Arson suspected in barn fire behind National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus

Arson suspected in barn fire behind National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - New details have been released about a fire that destroyed a piece of property at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus.

The executive director spoke on the loss and cause of the fire for the first time.

Columbus Fire Department officials said the cause of the fire is arson. It was not the museum itself that burned down, it was a barn out back with some valuable historic artifacts.

“We now know everything inside is burned,” said Executive Director Holly Wait.

The barn behind the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus once housed an old ship, tools, small modern boats, engines and more.

Wait said this wasn’t the first time arson threatened the property.

“I was very naive thinking, well whoever set it didn’t do a good job and they’re not coming back. But sure enough, Sunday night late, early Monday morning, they came and burned again," Wait said.

As first responders diligently fought to extinguish the fire, bystanders captured video of the flames soaring high.

“I really couldn’t think. It was beyond me. I was in shock the first day. I just kind of wondered around and felt lost," Wait said.

A chain link fence now surrounds the property to keep people safe from the embers and dangerous debris. Wait said there’s no price you could put on the damage.

“Any historical piece has such value in telling us who we are and why we are,” Wait said.

There is a hotline you can call if you have information on what happened at the museum. To the person or persons who started the fire, this is Wait’s message.

“Your mama taught you not to mess with other people’s things," she said.

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