If you're looking for a place to take the family on a quick trip without spending a ton of money in gas, Jamestown is an ideal spot for a One Tank Trip. More >>
If you're looking for a place to take the family on a quick trip without spending a ton of money in gas, Jamestown is an ideal spot for a One Tank Trip. Located on the Cumberland Plateau halfway between Nashville and Knoxville, the town has lots to do and see.More >>
COSBY (WATE) - A dormitory at the Sunset Gap Community Center was destroyed by fire late Sunday night.
Cocke County Fire Department officials say the fire at 1300 Sunset Gap Road started just before 9 p.m.
No one was injured in the fire. The building was empty when it started.
"We don't know exactly what happened at this time," said Sunset Gap Executive Director Josh Dunn. "We rushed to the building to see if we could save it, but by the time we got up there and opened the doors it was too engulfed to save it."
The community center is operated by the Presbyterian Church and provides services like adult education and early childhood development to Cocke and Sevier county residents.
"It's a really tragic loss," Dunn said.
The damaged structure is just across from the street from the main community building. It was used to house mission groups from all parts of the country, Dunn said.
"It's hard to describe what this place has meant," said Dunn. "It has housed thousands and thousands of volunteers to help this community. It's a great loss."
One group of volunteers, the Crafton Heights Youth Group, drove in from Pittsburgh Sunday night. They were supposed to be staying in the dorm when it caught fire.
"It's actually weird. We got lost on our way here so we would have gotten here a lot earlier. We were just thinking if we didn't get lost we would have been in that building or our stuff would be in that building so it's a weird kind of thankful that we were lost and late," Megan Salintro, the advisor for the church group.
The dormitory has served as the cornerstone for the community center's mission work around the county. Now they will look to the community they've served for more than 80 years for help.
"Sunset Gap is usually the one going out and helping the community, and it's a turning point in our history where we're going to need the help," Dunn said.
They've renovated 30 homes this year alone, including building a new home for 11-year-old Brandon Williams, who was attacked by dogs last August. They just finished the last touches on Brandon's new home two weeks ago. Now, they'll have to work to rebuild their building.
"It's going to be hard to replace. You can't replace what it's been or what it's done so far. We just hope we can build something equivalent or better and continue to move forward and make new memories and help our community," Dunn said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Crosby fire officials say the building is so badly burned they may never know the cause. The 84-year-old building is a total loss.
The community center also has a smaller dormitory in the main building. The Pittsburgh youth group is staying there for their mission trip.
If you can help, the center is looking for monetary donations, building supplies or if you can donate your time and labor, Sunset Gap will take whatever the community is willing to give. To donate, call their main office at 423-623-4313.