Fire to former school board member’s medical practice ruled intentional

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A fire to an orthopedic practice on Oleander Drive has been deemed intentionally set.

Crews with the Wilmington Fire Department responded a report of a fire at Port City Orthopaedics, 5302 Oleander Drive, at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to Battalion Chief David Hines.

Additional fire units were requested when the first crews arrived. The fire was extinguished at 3:20 a.m., Hines said. Twelve fire suppression units and about 40 fire personnel were on scene, Hines said.

Initial reports on the fire Tuesday determined that the sprinkler system helped firefighters extinguish the fire. After further investigation, it was determined that a broken water pipe in the ceiling also helped put out the fire, Hines said.

Fire investigators ruled on Wednesday that the fire was intentionally set, Hines said.

Damages to the single-story commercial building are estimated to be $300,000 to the building and $50,000 to its contents, Hines said. The investigation is ongoing.

“This building’s owner/occupant is Port City Orthopaedics, Derrick G. Hickey M.D,” Hines said.

Hickey—a former member of the New Hanover County Board of Education–ran for a seat on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners in the November 2014 general election. Commissioner Rob Zapple, a Democrat, maintained a narrow victory over Hickey, a Republican, after a canvass of votes on Nov. 14, 2014.