WDBJ7 Web Staff
5:37 PM EDT, April 17, 2012
NATURAL BRIDGE, Va. UPDATED: Tuesday 5:40 p.m.
Firefighters are still working to contain the brush fire that spread from a roadside attraction in Rockbridge County.
The Natural Bridge Haunted Monster Museum caught fire Monday evening. The main building was heavily damaged and flames spread to the woods.
Tuesday, firefighters are setting a back burn to control that brush fire. They expect the fire to cover about 40 acres in total. A state police team is now investigating the cause of the fire. Local fire officials say they needed the help because of the scale of the fire.
The property is owned by Natural Bridge, and the museum is operated by artist Mark Cline. The property's manager said the museum was a popular seasonal attraction but it's too early to say if it can be rebuilt. The building was insured and was more than 100 years old.
The museum was closed for the season when the fire started.
"The haunted monster museum was a really nice addition to our Natural Bridge attractions because it appealed to families and it was a nice addition and we're very fortunate nothing else at Natural Bridge was damaged," General Manager of the Natural Bridge Attraction Complex Debbie Land said.
Management says it is way too early to say whether it plans to rebuild the attraction.
State Police investigators took several samples to be analyzed to see if an accelerant was used on the fire.
Those results aren't expected for several weeks.
Robert Foresman tells WDBJ7 the firefighter injured while battling the fire at Natural Bridge is okay.
We're told the fire is still going on at this moment, and it's a very active scene.
Firefighters are battling a large fire burning in the Natural Bridge area Monday evening.
The fire started in the early evening. We're told it involves the Haunted Monster Museum that's part of the Enchanted Castle Studios buildings in Natural Bridge.
Crews are also battling another structure fire and brush fire in the same vicinity.
Rockbridge County Emergency Management Coordinator, Robert Foresman, says one firefighter was hurt battling the fire.
This is now the second major loss for Mark Cline in a fire. More than a decade ago, amid rumors of arson, he lost his studios much the same way he has tonight.
It was almost eleven years ago to they day. April 9th, 2001, Mark Cline lost his Enchanted Castle to a devastating fire. Cline has always claimed the fire was started by reglious zealots, but officials never determined it was arson.
His whimsical fiberglass sculptures are well known in the Roanoke Valley, and in 2001, Cline was determined to rebuild his studios.
Cline was recently seen putting up a King Kong statue at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke. His Haunted Museum in Natural Bridge has been a large tourist attraction.
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