City to tear down McClung warehouses

The McClung Warehouse suffered major damage in the fire. Claire Nelson // TNJN
The McClung Warehouse suffered major damage in the fire. Claire Nelson // TNJN

After much deliberation city officials decide to tear down the McClung Warehouses in downtown Knoxville after the tragic fire that took place last week.

Early Saturday morning, Feb. 1, the McClung Warehouses were engulfed in flames.Emergency response teams arrived at the fiery scene at the corner of Broadway and Jackson Avenue at 3:30 a.m., at which point the flames had reached 100 feet.

After seven hours spent trying to contain the fire, the Knoxville Fire Department was unable to determine what sparked the flame.

No one was significantly injured in the fire.

“Old warehouses were maintained by spreading kerosene to keep the dust out,” Fire Department spokesperson D.J. Corcoran, said. “The saturated wood floors fueled and helped the flames grow.”

Friday Feb. 7 marks the six-year anniversary of the first fire in the McClung warehouse. The previous fire left only two of the five buildings standing and is recognized as of the worst fires in East Tenn. history.

Because of the buildings historical significance, city officials took much caution in surveying the damage in order to determine how much of the property was salvageable.

At the time of the fire, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero was visiting Turkey but toured the site with city officials on Monday afternoon to discuss plans for the building. After deeming the building “not structurally sound”, Mayor Rogero heads an operation for demolition crews to begin tearing down the warehouses this Saturday.

Officials predict that the demolition itself should take two to four days to complete and the clean up of debris could take as long as five weeks.

In an effort to preserve the memory of the warehouses, the city of Knoxville will keep 500 bricks from the buildings after they are torn down.

Edited by Zach Dennis

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