Theft at Moss Point paper mill turns into raging fire

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - What began as a theft, turned into a raging fire in Moss Point Thursday night. Now, police are looking for whoever broke into the old International Paper Company property and sparked the blaze.

Several acres at the paper mill have now been burned to a crisp. Fire officials said it appears someone, maybe more than one person, started the fire while stealing scrap metal off an old crane.

Fire Chief Mike Dale and Fire Inspector Robert Lavinghouse said the suspects probably used a blow torch to melt the metal off the machine. The sparks from the torch and drought conditions, made for a dangerous combo and a predictable result.

"It was so far from the road that they had privacy to conduct their illegal activity without being discovered," Chief dale said.

As police and fire officials surveyed the damage. They said it's frustrating to know someone stealing scrap for a quick buck put the community in danger.

"Personally, I hate this," Lavinghouse said. "They don't need to be burning stuff up. That just makes us work a lot  harder and taxpayers have to pay for all this eventually, and it is just not right."

A lot of evidence has been collected on the scene to find out who caused this blaze. Now, fire officials are even more confident the culprit will be found.

"People are getting to which they are getting real bold about stealing stuff. I mean, it is people's property."

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