Eastern Guilford High School fire investigation: 10 years later

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Col. Randy Powers still remembers it like it was yesterday.

"Those are one of those things that you never forget,” said Powers, chief deputy with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office. “It's always etched in your mind."

On Nov. 1, 2006, Powers was one of several first responders on the scene when Eastern Guilford High School burst into flames.

"This particular fire was one like I never seen before," Powers said. "The teachers and all got everybody evacuated."

Investigators believe the fire, which started in a storage closet, was deliberately set.

But after 10 years, they still haven't made an arrest.

The investigation was sent to a cold case unit with the sheriff's office about two years ago.

"We would definitely like to close the case, but at the same token, we don't want to arrest somebody that we could not convict," he said.

Powers says a former student is suspected of causing the fire but says there isn't enough evidence to make an arrest.

"There's one primary person,” Powers said. “There could be a secondary person."

Julius Monk, the executive director of facilities for Guilford County Schools, was also there.

"It was an emotional time for everyone," Monk said.

Monk says the school was rebuilt and reopened in 2009, thanks to the community's help.

"This one has a little over 70 classrooms," he said, referring to the new building.

Although the case hasn't been solved, investigators say they won't give up.

"Somebody may come forward and say 'I saw this' something we just haven't had," Powers said.

If an arrest is made, officials say that person will be charged with felony arson.