Major gas fire hits Sandhill Road area ***UPDATED 5:50 P.M.***-attachment0

Major gas fire hits Sandhill Road area ***UPDATED 5:50 P.M.***

***UPDATED: As of 5:50 p.m. the fire is out.*** A major gas fire hit the Sandhill Road area, erupting around 4 p.m. today. Emergency response crews have blocked off the area, and reports from both news outlets and social media tell of a huge fireball and a shockwave that shook nearby buildings. Authorities are warning people to avoid the area. Photo by Jason Setran.

Update: Linville Gorge fire continues, dry weather could challenge containment-attachment0

Update: Linville Gorge fire continues, dry weather could challenge containment

Yesterday’s rain helped reduce the size of the raging fire in the Linville Gorge Wilderness area from 2,700 acres to about 2,275 acres, but the blaze continues to blanket a popular site for hiking, climbing and camping. Officials are now worried that an upcoming week of warm, dry weather could challenge containment efforts.

BREAKING: New Belgium fire ‘very suspicious’-attachment0

BREAKING: New Belgium fire ‘very suspicious’

The cause of the structure fire that started in the River Arts District late April 5 evening remains as opaque as the smoke that billowed from it. The flames overtook two buildings at the future New Belgium site on Craven Street. (Photo by Max Cooper) ***UPDATE Saturday, April 6 at 3 p.m.: AFD has determined these fires were intentionally set.***

How to help the men who lost their home to a fire on Friday-attachment0

How to help the men who lost their home to a fire on Friday

On Friday evening, the Brevard Road house of Parker Sloan, Grey Nelson and Adam Bowers burned to the ground. No one was injured, but high winds made it difficult for firefighters to extinguish the flames and the house was destroyed. The Asheville community has responded with various events to help their neighbors. To help, read on:

(Parker Sloan sorts through the remnants of his bedroom. Photos by Bill Rhodes)

$20,000 reward for info about fatal medical office fire-attachment0

$20,000 reward for info about fatal medical office fire

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the city of Asheville and Asheville–Buncombe Crime Stoppers are offering a combined reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for setting the fire at the Medical Office Complex Building, 445 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville

UPDATE: AFD’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen fatally injured in Biltmore Ave. fire

UPDATE: Asheville Fire Department’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen, a 13-year veteran of the department, died today, July 28, after battling a blaze at 445 Biltmore Ave. Another firefighter, Jay Bettencourt, was taken to Augusta, Ga., for treatment. According to information released at a 5 p.m. press conference, the building was older and not required to have a sprinkler system. Bettencourt and Bowen were working as a team in the incident, and six other firefighters were also injured.

Photo by Katy Brooks

Forest Service plans prescribed burn at Bent Creek

The USDA Forest Service is planning a prescribed burn in June or July on about 42 acres of national forest land on the Bent Creek Experimental Forest. The study will help agency scientists understand how the timing of prescribed burning affects hardwood regeneration — primarily for oaks — along with herbaceous vegetation, fuel loading and breeding bird communities. The areas to be burned include three forest compartments near the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area, adjacent to Forest Service Roads 479 and 664.

Photo by Jonathan Welch

Xpress Files: Richmond Hill Inn bankruptcy documents-attachment0

Xpress Files: Richmond Hill Inn bankruptcy documents

Federal bankruptcy court documents filed by the owner of the Richmond Hill Inn show that the loss of the inn’s historic mansion to fire on March 20 was valued at $7 million, including $25,000 in oriental rugs, $55,000 in food and wine and an unknown amount to replace the irreplaceable — a portrait of Gabrielle Pearson, the wife of the congressman and ambassador who built the original Victorian mansion in 1889.

Hot legal battling preceded Richmond Hill blaze; arson suspected

Five months before a devastating March 19 fire destroyed the historic Richmond Hill Inn, legal battles had been heating up between the current and former owners of the property. Investigators believe the blaze was intentionally set. A landmark lost: A devastating early morning fire March 19 destroyed the Richmond Hill Inn’s historic main building. Investigators […]