Brett Mandel is the secretary-treasurer of Green Acres Flea Market and said his grandparents started the flea market in the 70s. The flea market has been in his family for generations and he hopes to can be around for generations to come.
“Saturday evening we were notified of a fire that broke out on the property and I only know so much about it,” Mandel explained. “I haven’t been given specific details but it appears that it started towards an uninhabited restaurant towards the back of the property.”
Mandel said the water and electricity inside the Green Acres Flea Market had been turned off for several months. Recently, there were certain code and permit issues that he said were addressed.
Blount County Codes inspector Jeffrey Chapman said that “the inspection happened in February and the unsafe do not enter placard was affixed to the building around the end of February.” He added that his office ” does not have any records of corrections.”
Even though the inside of the flea market wasn’t in use, the outside of the building had been filled with vendors.
“It’s a lot of diversity which we take pride in that,” Mandel said. “Everybody kind of looks out for each other and we know each other’s stories and we look forward to seeing each other every weekend.”
After Saturday’s fire, Mandel said he’s not sure how soon they’ll be able to open back up the outdoor space.
“For years and years and years we have people coming from North Carolina, from Kentucky from everywhere around coming here to the flea market, Hispanic flea market because we don’t have too many places,” said Andey Csaparro Owns, who tire shop on the property.
He added, “I was here and I started seeing the fire back to the building, black smoke, and saw the fire and in one hour, two hours, everything, everything, everything inside was on fire.”
His business was spared but he said many of his friends don’t know what they’re going to do if they can’t open their shop back up soon.
“And now everybody is sad. I’m seeing yesterday people cry,’ said Csaparro.
Mandel said he hopes to have vendors back on the property as soon as possible.
“There are question marks there obviously,” Mandel stated. “We’re still trying to figure things out. This is really new and we have to kind of take things a day at a time. Our intent is to be an outside flea market as soon as possible.”