Flames consumed a vacant building Friday night as Rome-Floyd firefighters once again found themselves battling the work of a suspected arsonist at the old O’Neill Manufacturing Co. site on Howell Street.
At approximately 5:30 p.m., a call came in to 911 specifying that one of the buildings on the property, located at the corner of Howell Street and Anderson Street, was on fire.
The building was blazing by the time firefighters arrived on the scene. It took approximately 30 minutes until the fire was under control and the crews began searching for and dousing hot spots.
Thick smoke was illuminated by the orange flames that rose high above the North Broad Street area and could be seen from downtown Rome.
“There was no one inside,” Battalion Chief Milton Wilson said. “It was a vacant building, and we didn’t find anyone inside upon our arrival.”
Slack said the cause of the fire was unknown but that it will be under investigation.
According to a report by Rome police Pfc. Corey Bowers, police labeled the fire as arson late Friday night.
The fire was located in the building next to the one that had received extensive damage from a Nov. 23 fire that was also labeled as a possible arson.
That building was being used to store clothing and lumber and reportedly had all utilities disconnected.
A total of five engines responded to Friday’s fire, along with two battalion chiefs and Floyd Medical Center EMS. Rome police officers blocked off access to the property for a short time.