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WHITE PINE (WATE) - Two days after a man's body was discovered in a motel fire in White Pine, authorities still haven't ruled out foul play.
The fire happened Saturday at the Crown Inn on Phillips Road, just off Interstate 81. The call came in just before 5:00 p.m.
White Pine police identified the victim as Eddie Taylor White, 72. He had lived at the motel for two-three years, according to Police Chief Charles Epps. The chief also said the motel caters to transients.
"He was a really good neighbor, never had no problems. He would come out in the morning and sweep the parking lot just because he wanted to," said Chane Schultz, a transient resident of the motel.
Fire crews put out the flames quickly and then found White's body, badly burned. Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire.
"It is suspicious any time you have a body in the fire scene, so it's answering the questions on how and why it was there, and how it got there," Chief Epps said.
There were around 20 others who lived there. Some were back at the scene Monday to survey the damage.
Although the fire was contained to the lobby, the motel still needs to restore electricity until residents can go back.
"I really didn't know what all had happened, really wasn't sure what was going on," said Schultz.
Monday afternoon, the Red Cross opened a temporary shelter at the White Pine Elementary School to help the other motel residents. It's at White Pine Elementary School, 3060 Roy Messer Highway.
Six families have been helped with temporary shelter in a motel, according to Red Cross officials.
Chief Epps says the autopsy on White was conducted Monday morning, and he's still waiting on the results.
Agents with the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Bureau, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Office of District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn have been called in to assist in the case.
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