ROGERSVILLE — The cause of a fire that destroyed a popular Rogersville T-shirt printing business early Tuesday morning is still under investigation, although arson is not suspected.
Rogersville Fire Department Assistant Chief David Jackson said the fire that destroyed Simply Tee-Rific Screening and Embroidery, 362 Colonial Road, started near the rear of the building at an industrial dryer used to dry the ink on shirts.
Around 4:10 a.m. firefighters from Rogersville, Striggersville, Persia, Lakeview and Bulls Gap were dispatched to the store.
“When the first engine arrived at 4:12 a.m. the building was more than half engulfed and already through the roof,” Jackson said. “The area of origin was a dryer at the center of the building against the back wall. When they printed T-shirts this machine dried them. This thing was 20 feet long and 5 feet wide with a conveyor belt through the middle of it.
“The actual cause is undetermined at this time, but the building is a total loss.”
Simply Tee-Rific was next door to a lumber yard. It didn’t take long for firefighters to realize they wouldn’t be able to make entry to the building, at which time the priority became attacking the fire from the outside and preventing its spread to other structures.
Also responding to the scene was Striggersville Assistant Chief Gary Murrell, who is also Hawkins County EMA director. Murrell said Hawkins County HazMat was dispatched to the scene due to large quantities of inks and solvents stored in the building.
“Our biggest concern with the chemicals in the building was runoff into creeks and waterways,” Murrell said. “Hawkins County HazMat arrived on the scene and was able to contain the runoff to keep the chemicals from contaminating freshwater sources.”
Simply Tee-Rific was a prominent business in Rogersville that printed T-shirts for most of the ball leagues in the city, as well as police department and fire department T-shirts.
“They did a lot of business in town and out of state, and they did a good job,” Jackson said. “They stayed swamped.”