2 homeless men arrested in McClung Warehouses fire

2 homeless men arrested in McClung Warehouses fire

Posted: Updated:
Joey Bryant (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) Joey Bryant (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)
Robert Montgomery (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) Robert Montgomery (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Two homeless men were arrested Sunday in connection with the February 1, 2014 fire at the McClung Warehouses in Knoxville.

Joey Patrick Bryant, 33, and Robert Earl Montgomery, 60, are each charged with arson, criminal trespass and assault. Bryant is being held on $75,500 bond, while Montgomery is being held on $51,000 bond.

Bryant was arrested Sunday night as he arrived to work as part of a freelancing cleanup crew at Thompson Boling arena. Montgomery was arrested at a homeless camp near the intersection of Oldham Avenue and Davana Street around 8:30 p.m.

According to arrest warrants, Bryant and Montgomery entered the building around 3:20 a.m., illegally bypassing security measures, and set a fire with a blue Bic lighter.

A female witness was also present at the time of the fire. Upon learning the fire was out of control, the warrants say the trip then exited the building, changed their clothes and threw away their shoes to alter their appearance.

The warrants state the witness was threatened with bodily harm with a weapon if she told or cooperated with authorities.

Officials say long hours, hard work, and a joint effort by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms, Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Fire Marshal's Office, and the Knoxville Fire Department led to the arrests.

Officials say Bryant and Montgomery caused $1.3 million dollars in damage.

The fire destroyed or badly damaged the two remaining structures on the site. Three buildings were destroyed in a 2007 fire.

The remaining structures were demolished, but cleanup on the site is expected to continue for several weeks.

The City of Knoxville plans to redevelop its Jackson Avenue properties, which it acquired in a settlement with a bankruptcy trustee. Officials hope a developer or developers can assume ownership by the end of the year.

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