CURRITUCK COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — A man purposefully lit his vehicle on fire and drove into an office building in Moyock, N.C. Friday afternoon, according to the Currituck County Sheriff’s Office.
Around 5:30 p.m., emergency dispatchers received multiple 911 calls about a pickup truck crashing into an office building owned by Twiford Law Firm along Currituck Commercial Drive. According to Sheriff Susan Johnson, a man was driving a truck in the area, and at some point exited his vehicle, lit several bales of hay in the back of his truck on fire and drove into the law firm.
“He got out of the truck in the parking lot and went back and lit the bales of hay that were in the back of his truck,” attorney Edward O’Neal said. “When they were flaming, the truck was fully engulfed, he got back in it and drove it into the building. It almost went completely through the building.”
That’s when witnesses said they recall hearing three explosions, and the truck burst into flames, catching the building on fire.
The last employee had left the building about 20 minutes before the incident. Some people at the scene seem to think the driver was waiting for everyone to leave the building. Witnesses said he was seen driving around the building for a couple hours beforehand.
No one was injured, except for the driver, who is dead, Johnson said.
A bystander tried to go into the building after the impact to save the driver, but couldn’t because it was too hot.
The fire was extinguished, and firefighters made sure there were no hot spots.
The sheriff’s office said the State Bureau of Investigation is responding to the crime scene, as they will likely handle the investigation of Johnson called an “arson-suicide.”
“It’s difficult, because it is something that you don’t expect to happen,” Johnson said. “I think that everybody is just very surprised and shocked. It would be speculation to try to determine what his reasoning was.”
Investigators are trying to figure out who the driver was, and if he had any reason to target the law firm. The license plate of the truck is burned, so investigators have not determined who the driver is, yet.
“I can tell you it is very unnerving,” O’Neal said. “We do criminal defense work. We do a lot of domestic work and our firm works with the Currituck County Department of Social Services, so we affect a lot of people.”
Twiford Law Firm has been in business for more than 50 years. An attorney at the firm told WAVY.com they have been in the building for about 10 years and that the firm owns the building, but leases office space there to other organizations, such as the Currituck Chamber of Commerce.
No further information has been released. Stay with WAVY.com for updates on this developing story.