Abandoned structure burns down outside campus

The Western Carolinian previously reported the Moss properties were owned by Cullowhee Baptist Church. That was mistaken. The properties were owned by the Moss family until bought by a different party.

Rubble following a fire near campus in early November, 2022. Photo by Lili Stapel.

An abandoned structure on the corner of Central Drive and Old Cullowhee Road caught fire in the early morning of Thursday, Nov. 3, blocking the back entrance to campus. The call came in at 6:18 a.m. and students received a ‘Safety Advisory’ email from Emergency Services around 6:40 a.m. notifying them of the road closure. 

 Moss General Store, built in 1907 but left abandoned, was engulfed in flames, leaving steaming rubble on the ground. The fire also damaged the Moss General Store Apartments located behind it. The cause of the fire is unknown as of Nov. 7 but under investigation by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Jackson County Fire Marshal.

The building did not have electrical power, indicating accidental or incendiary causes, said Michael Forbis, Jackson County Fire Marshal.

 Firefighters said no one was hurt or seen on the property.  

 Students heard rumors around campus suggesting a homeless person had set fire to the building. Local authorities are aware squatters frequented these buildings. As of Nov. 7, there is no evidence backing this claim.

The Moss General Store apartments are located at 3237 Old Cullowhee Road. The Moss General Store was located at 2 Central Drive. 

Aftermath of the Moss General Store fire near campus in early November, 2022. Photo by Lili Stapel.