BY KEN LITTLE
A barn loaded with tobacco and hay was destroyed by fire over the weekend.
In addition, a mobile home was leveled in a separate fire.
Fireworks are believed to be the cause of a fire about 9 p.m. Friday that destroyed a barn at 2375 White Sands Road, said David Weems, assistant chief of the South Greene Volunteer Fire Department.
The barn was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Weems said.
Barn owner Billy Shipley told sheriff's deputies that the barn contained four acres of tobacco, 250 square bales of hay and a tank containing 100 gallons of fuel oil.
Neighbors told deputies that they saw fireworks being set off behind the house next to the barn before the fire.
"The residents at 2375 White Sands Road said they were shooting fireworks at approximately 8:55 p.m.," a report said.
One of the tenants told deputies that "he noticed the barn was on fire, and he attempted to put it out. He advised his wife to call 911," the report said.
Firefighters found several "spent fireworks" on the ground behind the house, Weems said.
There was no electricity connected to the barn, he said.
"The barn and contents were a total loss," Weems stated.
No injuries were reported.
"Water had to be shuttled from the closest fire hydrant at South Greene High School," Weems said.
The value of the barn and contents is listed at $21,500.
The 30-by 50-foot wood barn was an older structure. The barn was leased to another man to store tobacco and hay, Weems said.
The owner told deputies that the tenants had moved into the house within the past week.
The barn is insured, Weems said.
Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to another nearby barn, and saved 80 round bales of hay that were beside the burning barn, Weems said.
A Sheriff's Department investigator will return to the scene today, he said.
Mutual aid was given by the DeBusk, Cedar Creek and Camp Creek volunteer fire departments, which provided tankers and manpower, Weems said.
The St. James Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the South Greene Volunteer Fire Department to provide fire protection to the area during the fire.
Also responding were Greene County-Greeneville Emergency Medical Services and the Greene County chapter of the American Red Cross.
MOBILE HOME FIRE
Fire consumed a mobile home and its contents about 5 p.m. Friday at 2764 Ripley Island Road, sheriff's Deputy Brandon Baskette said in a report.
Owner Harry Stretz told deputies that he was heating up cooking grease on a stove and the grease ignited.
Stretz extinguished the grease fire "then noticed the wall behind the stove was on fire," the report said.
Stretz got a hose to put the wall fire out "and noticed the roof was on fire."
He called 911 and firefighters arrived at the scene.
"(Stretz) was not injured and did not want ambulance (personnel) to check him out," the report said.
Damage to the single-wide mobile home is listed at $50,000.
The mobile home is insured, the report said.