On Wednesday, Feb. 1 around 4 a.m., two large barns on Hotchkiss Valley Road East in Lenoir City were burned down. The cause of the fires is believed to be arson.
“Very old barn, built in the ’30s I believe,” Sheriff Jimmy Davis said. “We’re really wanting for these homeowners and the property owners to have a good resolution to this.”
Both structures are a total loss and the fires are being investigated as arson mostly due to the fact no power was running to any of them.
Davis added, “We’ve done a lot of detail, a lot of checks of surveillance camera in the area. We may be looking at a couple of vehicles, but we also have the TBI involved. We called their arson investigator and TBI is helping us out.”
LCSO Fire Investigator Sergeant Detective Kevin Kirkland is working with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate the fire. They are reaching out to the public in hopes of gaining additional information on what happened.
“You don’t get fires like that unless it’s a bad lighting storm where you have multiple lightning strikes or things of that nature,” Davis said. “A transformer might be in the area, malfunctioned but there was no power to either structure and no weather in the area at the time of the fires.”
The sheriff’s office does not believe the property owners started the two fires.
Davis said, “A lot of the times when people set fires like that they’ll come back to the scene so we’ve looked into that and we’re continuing to look into all kinds of leads.”
Anyone with information about the fires is asked to contact the TBI Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. A reward of up to $5,000 is offered for any information that leads to the identification and arrest of the suspect(s).
Those with information need to call the hotline and not the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office directly. A patrol is also being set up along Hotchkiss Valley Road East.