According to fire department spokesman Barry Brickey, it may take a while for investigators determine what triggered the fire at Coastal Supply Co. Inc. On Wednesday morning officials were making sure the area was secure and safe for investigators to enter the building.
The facility stored materials for heating and cooling, and has seven other locations in East Tennessee.
"Anytime you get a lot of heat inside of a metal building some the beams can start twisting things like that," Brickey said, adding Tuesday's fire temperatures were in excess of 600 degrees.
"There were various kinds of tanks (inside the building). Anytime you have one of those breach it's just like having a mini explosion. So a lot of those things that were to maybe be explosions were some of those tanks breaching and letting loose the hot gas that was inside of them."
While Tuesday's fire certainly brings a loss, company president Ron Kennedy said it could have been much worse.
The fire department was able to spare two buildings behind the main structure from the flames, allowing some Coastal Supply orders to be loaded up and shipped out on Wednesday morning.
"We've got merchandise being loaded on trucks...we might miss one day of business, but other than that we're ready to go," Kennedy said.
"The fire department did a fabulous job."
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