Business owner concerned about vacant buildings

Business owner concerned about vacant buildings after Chapman Highway arson

Posted:
The destroyed building was not in violation of any codes, but now one nearby business owner is concerned by the possibility of it happening again. The destroyed building was not in violation of any codes, but now one nearby business owner is concerned by the possibility of it happening again.
Business owners are concerned about the vacant buildings just south of the Henley Street Bridge, including the former Baptist hospital. Business owners are concerned about the vacant buildings just south of the Henley Street Bridge, including the former Baptist hospital.
"We need more patrols here because we see these people daily and it seems as though very little can be done or is done," said Steve Boyce, owner of Rush's Music. "We need more patrols here because we see these people daily and it seems as though very little can be done or is done," said Steve Boyce, owner of Rush's Music.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

SOUTH KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Thursday's arson on Chapman Highway has brought up new concerns about safety near both occupied and abandoned businesses.

The destroyed building was not in violation of any codes, but now one nearby business owner is concerned by the possibility of it happening again.

The building on the Kern's Bakery site that was set on fire Thursday night is just one of several vacant buildings just south of the river.

"Obviously, you're always concerned, especially this time of year when you have vacant buildings. We work year-round with developers all around this town, working with developers in this town, trying to get people to occupy these buildings, so they won't be vacant," explained City of Knoxville Redevelopment Director Bob Whetsel.

The building was up to code, meaning all the doors and windows were shut and locked.

It wasn't required to have a sprinkler system because of the year it was built.

"The individual fire companies out in the city, if there is a building in their territory that's empty, or if it's a red flag, then they will notify the fire inspectors and they will go out and look and see what's going on in that building," said Captain D. J. Corcoran of the Knoxville Fire Department.

The building was not on their list.

One Chapman Highway business owner said that after Thursday night's fire, he's more concerned about the vacant buildings just south of the Henley Street Bridge, including the former Baptist hospital.

"Definitely filling the buildings would be great. More people would be here and that would cut that down, also, we need more patrols here because we see these people daily and it seems as though very little can be done or is done," said Steve Boyce, owner of Rush's Music.

He said he was even more concerned when an employee told him who the arsonist was, especially since his store is right across the street from the bakery.

"Evidently the guy who did this was a man who sat in a chair,under a tree that's beside our building daily. It does concern me. He has a friend that also sits there with him, so he's out there somewhere," Boyce explained.

Boyce said the number of homeless people in South Knoxville is a concern and that he has to make sure they aren't around the store during business hours because some of them scare away customers.

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