State Arson Team
In Town Today
To Inspect Vacant,
BY KEN LITTLE
Members of the Bomb and Arson Investigation Section of the state Division of Fire Prevention will assist today in determining the cause of a fire Sunday night that heavily damaged a building at 310 W. Depot St.
The vacant two-story building, which housed the former Depot Star Grill on the first floor, is adjacent to a building at 306-308 W. Depot St. that was destroyed by fire Friday morning.
The two fires may be more than a coincidence, Greeneville Fire Marshal Alan Shipley said this morning.
"Absolutely. That's something we take into consideration," Shipley said.
There was no power to the building at 310 W. Depot St. "and no one was supposed to be in there," Shipley said.
There were no injuries.
The fire was called in at 7:52 p.m. Sunday.
"The first caller sees flames coming through the roof. It's definitely a fire that's suspicious with no power or anything. There's no obvious answer to it right now," Shipley said.
The building is owned by J.T. Long. There was heavy fire damage to the second floor, and smoke and water damage to the first floor.
The cause of Friday's fire at 306-308 W. Depot St. also remains under investigation, Shipley said.
That building, which most recently housed an exterminating business and Craven Ink, was gutted by fire, and its unstable walls were torn down Friday afternoon for safety purposes.
Only a pile of debris remains of the building that burned Friday.
Its unsafe condition prevented investigators from getting inside before it was razed.
"Witnesses stated prior to the [7:52 p.m. Sunday] call, there was no kind of smoke in the other building. The other building was taken below the second floor and was down below the [fire origin level]," Shipley said.
It is known that a man spent the night on Thursday in the building that burned Friday, and others may have been staying there, Shipley said.
The man and others were questioned by Shipley and Greeneville police, but no charges had been filed as of this morning.
A brick wall separated the building that burned Sunday night from the one destroyed by flames Friday.
"According to a statement from [Long, the owner] no one was supposed to be inside the building," Shipley said. "We have not talked to anyone who was in the building."
The state arson investigation team will bring a specially trained dog to the fire scene, he said.
BUILT IN EARLY 1900S
Long said Saturday the building that burned Sunday night was constructed in the early 1900s. He said the upper portion of the building had once been a hotel. Long said he was in the process of renovating the kitchen.
The Depot Star Grill building is located between Cutler Street and the railroad underpass.
On the scene Sunday night were the Greeneville Fire Department, the Greeneville Police Department, Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services, and the American Red Cross.
Greeneville Fire Chief Mark Foulks said Sunday night the fire showed no evidence of being a rekindling of the Friday blaze that destroyed the adjacent building.
The building at 310 W. Deport St. must be carefully examined this morning before it is determined whether it is safe to go inside.
"It all depends how stable that building is. We will see if we can go in," Shipley said.