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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington business owner said she thought someone set fire to her livelihood Thursday as she watched it burn to the ground. But as a joint task force of local, state and federal agencies investigates, she says the blaze may have been far less sinister.

As investigators search for what caused the inferno, Dorothy Noe, owner of Dorothy’s Ruffled Originals, sifted through what was left of her 35-year-old business.

“It was a tiny little fire. I kept thinking about Boy Scouts, how they build fires,” Noe said.

She said she first noticed flames coming from a hallway used for storage before the it spread out of control.

Noe said she is devastated about the loss but is focusing on moving forward.

“I just have confidence. I’m not letting it bother me. It doesn’t bother me,” she said.

Thursday the business owner thought the cause was suspicious. Friday she guesses it could have been electrical.

“I do not want to think that it was deliberate,” Noe said. “(It happened at) 2:15 in the afternoon. Why would they do it at 2:15 and not 12:15 a.m.?”

Noe said she has owned the property since the ’70s, however she said she recently sold it to Coastal Reality.

Investigators estimate about $500,000 worth of damage to the building and contents. They say it will take until at least next week to figure out what happened.

Comment on this Story

  • Guestomfg

    Who would anyone burn her building down? She was moving at the end of April or closing down. Only person who would benefit from the insurance is her…..hummm

  • Neela

    If I’m not mistaken this isn’t her first “fire”? Seems like I remember her shop burned down before.

  • guest6969696969

    The Fire, happened round 1985/86? If I remember correctly, (My Father worked as a Security Guard there Way back then), As the Owner had troubles w/ Prev’s harassing the Ladies employed back then, “World Wide Security Firm”, was Hired for the Job. IF I recall,(correctly), there were 2 Shops, One was destroyed by fire..

  • Fire starting in a closet looks more like spontaneous combustion from cleaning rags, drying oils, cleaning fluids plus no air flow.

  • NEPender

    Perhaps she spoke too soon the day of the fire.

    Someone was quoted as saying “electrical wires that aren’t up to par…”

    Sounds kind of fishy to me since she has already sold the property and is supposed to be moved out soon.

    Lots of fires get blamed on “electrical”, so one thing to keep in mind, is there are lots of electrical systems in older building that are now 40 plus years old, and there’s no telling what kind of shape they are in, or what kind of modifications or short cuts have been taken over the years without a licensed electrical or inspector making sure it has been done correctly.

  • KrisC

    Just keep playing dumb.


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