Crossville citizens work to save treehouse

Crossville citizens work to save treehouse

Posted:
"The Treehouse," is located off Beehive Road in Crossville. "The Treehouse," is located off Beehive Road in Crossville.
The State Fire Marshal's Office declared the treehouse an imminent safety hazard and ordered it closed. The State Fire Marshal's Office declared the treehouse an imminent safety hazard and ordered it closed.
"They want [owner Horace Burgess] to pretty much for him to pay to rebuild it," said Josh Wicks, a worker at "The Treehouse." "They want [owner Horace Burgess] to pretty much for him to pay to rebuild it," said Josh Wicks, a worker at "The Treehouse."
"We certainly don't want anyone to be in danger while visiting the treehouse," said Nickey Philpo, a Crossville resident. "We certainly don't want anyone to be in danger while visiting the treehouse," said Nickey Philpo, a Crossville resident.

CROSSVILLE (WATE) - Members of the Crossville community are working to reopen a massive treehouse that many have called "God's work."  

The effort to reopen the treehouse comes after the State Fire Marshal's Office declared it an imminent safety hazard and ordered it closed.  

"The Treehouse," is located off Beehive Road in Crossville. Nearby residents say it is more than just a giant playground. Locals claim it is the largest treehouse in the world.

A single complaint from a passing visitor prompted the fire marshal to order the closure. In a letter to the treehouse's owner, Horace Burgess, the fire marshal said the treehouse didn't appear to have proper structural support and contained several falling hazards.

The fire marshal also said the 100-foot tall treehouse lacks a fire safety plan.

The closure is being opposed by many in the area.  Crossville resident Natosha Carson started a petition on Change.org that as of Sunday had 1,781 supporters.

"Horace is a humble man that has touched our lives. Now this community is willing to rally around him! The treehouse should be reopened!" said Carson in the petition. 

The treehouse is eight stories high, 60 feet higher than what's allowed in local building codes.  

"They want him to put sprinkler systems in. They want him to pretty much for him to pay to rebuild it," said Josh Wicks, a worker at "The Treehouse."

Burgess built the treehouse in 1993, saying that God told him to build it. 

It has become a popular attraction, with about 1,000 people visiting it per week.  

The treehouse has attracted visitors from all over the country. Locals say it provides an economic boost. 

"We brought revenue in, so when they came, they're going to want gas, they're going to want something to eat different things like that," said Wicks.  

Over Labor Day weekend, thousands of visitors were forced to turn away from seeing the 10-story towering treehouse that now stands behind locked gates.

Though many want to see the treehouse reopened, some residents say the safety of the public outweighs everything else.

"The treehouse has been a wonderful attraction for Crossville area, but we certainly don't want anyone to be in danger while visiting the treehouse," said Nickey Philpo, a Crossville resident.

Burgess said he planned to meet with the fire marshal on Monday to discuss options to reopen the treehouse.  

He said he has no plans to change the building to make it conform to building codes.

Building codes adopted by the state do not specifically address treehouses.

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