More than a dozen businesses impacted by Law Office Building blaze
By Buzz Trexler | (email@example.com)
One tenant, Mary Beth West Consulting LLC, 324 S. Washington St., summed it up early Monday morning on the company Facebook page: "So much for a Happy Monday. With the fire at our office building this morning, we're breaking out the MBWC crisis plan! Thx to everyone for keeping your fingers crossed for us!"
According to a Maryville Police Department Dispatcher, the fire first came in as an alarm at 5:02 a.m. and firefighters responded, finding smoke in the building at 5:10 a.m. The dispatcher said the fire, which was believed to be primarily in the attic area, was located at 5:28 a.m. Firefighters began clearing the scene at 10:20 a.m.
Anxious business owners and their staff were found Monday morning gathered near the scene.
"We don't know the conditions yet," said Billy Gribble, of Gribble, Carpenter and Associates LLC. Gribble said his offices, listed as 372 S. Washington St., are located in the basement. "They wouldn't let nobody in," he said, but expected to find the basement flooded. "We're going to hope for the best."
Missy Johnson, of Kingdom Design Ministries, was watching the scene from a chair at a service area set up by Blount County Rescue Squad's Special Operations Unit, which responds when local fire departments are battling two-alarm fires and higher. The unit provides food, water and "medical rehab," checking firefighters' vital signs.
"I got the call about 7:30 a.m. from another tenant, Andrea Carpenter," Johnson said. Carpenter is vice president of The Ewing Group Financial Services, 332 S. Washington St., and Johnson said she is president of Kingdom Design Ministries' board of directors.
"It's kind of a little studio space," Johnson said while fighting back tears. She's been told that the basement, where the ministry has been located for a little more than a year, is totally flooded. "It's kind of a little swimming pool right now."
According to its website, Kingdom Design Ministries is located at 334 S. Washington St. and it creates "dream rooms for children who have experienced devastation in their young lives." Johnson sadly noted that the ministry is uninsured.
No one has been reported injured, but a Maryville police dispatcher said one firefighter fell through the roof but was not transported for care.
Also on the scene: Firehouse Subs, which is located just up the road at 419 S. Washington St., provided sandwiches and iced tea for emergency personnel.
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