Yellow tape sealed the scene at Tina’s Treasures, 202 Highway 72 East, and neighboring Briley’s as members of the Corinth Fire Department and a state fire marshal investigated the scene at the former Howell Home Center property.
Fire Chief Billy “Lucky” Briggs said it was too soon to speculate as to what caused the fire, which was reported around 6 p.m. Tuesday. The smoke and fire damage is extensive in the sprawling building, which remained standing.
When the first fire truck arrived, “We had heavy smoke coming from the building, pretty much everywhere in the building,” said Briggs.
In addition to everyone on duty, the department called in off-duty firemen and also any available volunteers from the county fire departments.
Firemen faced a challenge of pinpointing where to start and also of intense heat. Tina’s Treasures is a large space filled with items from different vendors in somewhat of a flea market style.
“We tried making access through the front, but you couldn’t. It was too hot,” said Briggs.
The heat was held in and intensified by the metal of the structure, which does not have a sprinkler system.
“We ended up cutting holes and making access to the fire when we found out where it was actually at,” said the chief.
The fire was deemed under control at about 9:30 p.m., and firemen worked the scene until about 1:30 a.m.
Several people gathered outside the business Wednesday morning as the investigation continued. Through the broken windows could be seen the sooty antiques, collectibles and other fare not destroyed by the fire. Briley’s, a wholesale store, appeared to have mainly smoke damage in its retail space.
Briggs expressed thanks to the county volunteer firemen who joined the effort.
“It was a tremendous help,” he said.