The Orange fire marshal is investigating a suspected arson at the former President Madison Inn on Caroline Street. Right now the Paul Stefan Foundation is in the process of renovating the building into a regional home for pregnant homeless women.
Foundation president and co-founder Randy James got a call from town authorities around 7:30 Monday morning telling him water was coming out of the building. By the time he arrived, the first floor was flooded due to the sprinkler system being set off by flames.
Investigators say they suspect the fire was set to one of the rooms in the back. No one was inside the building at the time “The sprinkler system worked and that’s a blessing because we’ve remodeled the upstairs, put $200,000 into the third floor. So, no water went off on the third floor, and didn’t damage the work that was already done, so that was a blessing,” James said.
James estimates the damage to cost about $60,000 to $70,000. This is an ongoing investigation but the Sheriff’s Office says foul play is suspected. Anyone with information is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 540-672-1200.