MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Fire and police agencies from all over Northwest Florida responded to reports of a fire at the old Daffin Food Services building Thursday night.
Marianna Fire Chief Nakeya Lovett said the fire destroyed what was the old part of the building.
"We lost about 15,000 square feet of the 80,000 square foot structure," said Lovett.
Firefighters used nearly two million gallons of water to put out the flames- which took until about 4 a.m. on Friday.
The building had been abandoned for a couple of years, leading Marianna Police Chief Hayes Baggett to suspect the fire was intentionally set.
The main reason being there had been no electricity in the building.
Through tips, investigators said they traced the fire back to two teenagers, 18-year-old Corey Jermaine Rivera-Allen and 16-year-old Vincent Alexander Miller.
"We were able to secure the two individuals who were responsible for the fire and make two arrests," Baggett said. "The investigation is ongoing. It could be more people arrested."
Investigators determined that Rivera-Allen and Miller went into the old Daffin building intending to burglarize it- and then made the decision to start the fire.
Rivera-Allen was arrested on charges related to arson, and Miller is in a juvenile detention facility in Bay County.
For Jackson County Administrator Ernie Padgett, the Daffin building was more than just a structure.
His father worked on a rolling store that stopped at Daffin- and during the summer, Padgett got to ride along.
"We'd always go into Daffin with him and when I saw the building yesterday, that was the first time I had seen it since I was a kid."
Padgett had been in the building just hours before it burned down Thursday.
He said he was glad he was able to see the old wood and pine inside the building, and that it reminded him of his school days.
Investigators are continuing to look at the case, to determine whether there might be more suspects involved.
If you have any information related to the case, you're urged to call the Marianna Police Department at 850-526-3125 or Chipola Crimestoppers at 850-526-5000.