GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — For an estimated 30 minutes, the Eastern Guilford High School community went about their days, unaware flames were spreading to their school’s roof, which in turn, started feeding the fire. Not long after, firefighters were swarming the scene only to learn they were way behind.
They never caught up.
As firefighters broke through the ceiling tiles in a science lab where the fire was started, they were met with flames and thick smoke. They described the room as going “from day to night.”
Months ago, we here at FOX8 started going through videos and stories we’d shot years ago. When searching for story ideas, our chief photographer, Keith Hale, presented one of the more notorious crimes in the Triad’s history.
It’s something that would have been almost immediately solved in today’s world. On Nov. 1, 2006, however, there weren’t cameras constantly monitoring the campus of Eastern Guilford High. There weren’t even sprinklers.
For days, firefighters stayed on scene, with students, staff and alumni watching from afar as they realized there would be no more learning inside the walls of that school building. In some spots, there weren’t even any walls remaining.
The images from that day are polarizing, even here, 15 years later.
Through the collapse, theories arose. As did persons of interest. For years, there have been rumors about who started the fire, perhaps, not realizing how much damage they were about to do. Although time can become a friend for investigators when it comes to unsolved crimes, this last decade and a half has presented no charges.
Through a series of interviews transformed into a two-part mini-series, we uncover the early stages of that fire, its lasting impacts and what those close to the investigation say needs to happen to bring it to a conclusion.