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Firefighters work at wrapping up Miller and Brewer fire | News

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Firefighters work at wrapping up Miller and Brewer fire

HARRIMAN - About 48 hours after a large fire destroyed a historic downtown building, firefighters have cleared the scene.

Firefighters stayed on the scene after the big fire to monitor and extinguish any hot spots.

The 500 block of North Roane Street is still partially closed, although Adkisson's Floweres and Gifts and Harriman Jewelry Exchange are still accessible.

The Miller and Brewer Building, once downtown Harriman's largest building, has been vacant for years. But it still holds a lot of history.

Hwy. 27 remains closed through Harriman after Thursday's fire

Sixteen different area agencies assisted in fighting the fire, which broke out at lunchtime Thursday. It was a fire that Harriman Fire Chief Brad Goss said would have been dangerous to enter.

"We can't put guys into buildings like these. Buildings like these are killing firefighters across the country and we didn't want to take that chance," said Goss.

Instead, since they knew it was a vacant building, firefighters stay out of the structure, pouring water on it, and let it collapse. The collapse occurred about 5:45 p.m.

Down the road is Adkisson's Flowers and Gifts. Jess and Linda Rittenhouse own the 70-year-old business.

"Our great uncle opened the business here.. Jim Adkisson and my father in-law went into business with him and I got into business with my father in-law," Adkisson said.

He recalled the Miller and Brewer Building as a place locals could buy clothes. He called it a vital store with a throwback feel in the community.

After the store closed, it was used for apartments, with a thrift store attached. In later years, it was known as a vacant storage structure.

"It was rather heartbreaking because the city was trying to find the right thing to come into these buildings and to re-establish businesses and refurbish the buildings," said Adkisson.

Midtown Volunteer Fire Department assisted in the fire. They held a fundraiser with the Kingdom Heirs down the road at the Princess Theatre, just down the road from the fire. This helps fund their services so they can offer assistance.

Firefighters are not yet sure what caused the massive fire. They will continue their investigation on Monday.


Kingston - Harriman - Roane Businesses