McAffry Now Free
After Serving Part
Of 30-Day Sentence
BY KEN LITTLE
A man who was inside a vacant two-story building at 306-308 W. Depot St. when a fire started there on Oct. 19 entered a guilty plea last week to criminal trespassing and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with the sentence suspended except two days.
Daniel Reid McAffry, 52, who authorities said was homeless, served his time and is now free.
McAffry was taken into custody on Dec. 22 and was sentenced on Dec. 28 in Greene County General Sessions Court, according to an affidavit of complaint.
The fire destroyed the building, which most recently housed an exterminating business and a tattoo parlor.
Investigators continue an investigation into an arson fire on Oct. 21 that heavily damaged an adjacent building at 310 W. Depot St.
There is no apparent connection between the two fires, Greeneville Fire Marshal Alan Shipley said Wednesday.
INTERVIEWED AFTER FIRE
McAffry was interviewed shortly after the fire was reported on the morning of Oct. 19, and admitted to staying in the building, Greeneville police Detective Lt. Ray Allen Jr. said Wednesday.
McAffry's father, George McAffry, operated an exterminating business in the building until his death in 2008.
Shipley and Mark Foulks, Greeneville fire chief, said it is possible that people staying in the building at 306-308 W. Depot St. may have started a fire in a sink to keep warm.
The fire may have spread out of control, although investigators have not confirmed the exact cause of the blaze.
Daniel McAffry committed the misdemeanor offense of criminal trespassing by staying in the building, which was "properly posted with no trespassing signs and was vacant at the time," the affidavit of complaint states.
"The building was owned by American Patriot Bank and was for sale. The building sustained major fire damage on the day of the offense and is a total loss," the complaint states.
DENIAL OF INVOLVEMENT
McAffry denied having anything to do with the fire, Allen said. He would not confirm that others were also sleeping in the building.
"He was staying upstairs (and told investigators) the sound of the popping and crackling woke him up, and he took off out the back door," Allen said.
An arrest warrant was sworn out Nov. 28 for McAffry.
"We couldn't find him. He's homeless. He stays here and there," Allen said.
Sheriff's deputies located McAffry on Dec. 22 and served the warrant.
"We don't think that he set the fire intentionally. That's why we didn't charge him with arson," Foulks said.
The building at 306-308 W. Depot St. was razed after the fire for the safety of the public. Because of extensive damage to the two-story structure, investigators could not enter the building.
"There's a possibility there were other people in the building with [McAffry]. He went out the back of the building," Shipley said.
"There's a possibility other actions they had taken trying to stay warm could have started the fire, but we don't have anything concrete."
The power was not turned on in the building at 306-308 W. Depot St.
An investigation of the fire is continuing, Shipley said.
The cause of the Oct. 21 fire in the building next door to the one that burned Oct. 19 also remains under investigation.
"The second fire was definitely an intentionally-set fire," Shipley said.
Damage to the building was so extensive it could not be entered by investigators. Evidence was collected using a city bucket truck positioned overhead.
Interviews are still being conducted in connection with the Oct. 21 fire, Shipley said. The two-story building at 310 W. Depot St. housed the former Depot Star Grill on the first floor.
"We're still looking at a few things," he said. "We're still trying to run down any leads we have."
An unsecured area of the second floor contained an old bed. The building did have electricity hooked up.
"There was a possibility [people] had been in that room," he said. "No one saw anyone."
J.T. Long, owner of the building at 310 W. Depot St., said after the Oct. 21 fire that the building dates to the early 1900s. He said the second floor had once been a hotel.
Long said he was in the process of renovating a first-floor kitchen.
The state Bomb and Arson Investigation Section of the state Division of Fire Prevention is assisting in the investigation into the 310 W. Depot St. fire.
Anyone with information about the fires can contact the Greeneville Fire Marshal's Office at 787-6183 or the Greeneville Police Department at 639-7111.