Arson suspected in Hawkins County fire

Jeff Bobo • Nov 4, 2007 at 12:00 AM

BULLS GAP — Authorities believe an early morning fire Thursday that destroyed a vacant Hawkins County residence and also resulted in a Bulls Gap fire truck being wrecked and destroyed was most likely arson.

Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Murrell said Sunday that a log cabin that burned down on Buzzards Roost Road just north of Bulls Gap on Thursday morning had no electricity, no natural gas and no one living there.

“There’s no other explanation for the fire than arson,” Murrell said. “Can we prove it? Probably not unless there’s a witness out there who comes forward.

“But it had to be set intentionally because there’s no other way it could have caught fire.”

Hawkins County Central Dispatch received a call shortly before 2 a.m. that there had been an explosion at the log cabin.

As a Bulls Gap Volunteer Fire Department tanker/pumper was attempting to reach the residence along a narrow drive, part of the road gave way causing the truck to lurch toward the ditch.

Murrell said the driver then overcorrected and drove the truck off the road.

The fire truck was a total loss as a result of the accident.

“This is a good example of how arson can have an impact on the community,” Murrell said. “The property owner lost a home, but this fire department is also short one fire truck because they were responding to a call that they wouldn’t have had to respond to if someone hadn’t intentionally set that fire. And if you look at what’s happened in California with the arson and the devastating brush fires, it’s dry enough for something like that to happen here, too.

“It wouldn’t take much — an ember from a burning house somewhere and we could have a big-time brush fire on our hands.”

Murrell said Bulls Gap firefighters are working with their insurance provider to get a replacement fire truck as soon as possible.

Anyone with information about the fire on Buzzards Roost Road is asked to contact the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office at 272-4848.

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