Hale: Can’t rule out multiple points of origin in Angelo’s fire

The burned out remains of Angelo’s Hillside Grill located on West Andrew Johnson Highway in Morristown.

Morristown Fire Marshall Billy Hale said the investigation is ongoing into the fires that destroyed the vacant former location of Angelo’s Hillside Grill on West Andrew Johnson Highway.

Hale was able to say that he has determined the first fire which was reported Tuesday night was properly extinguished and he can’t rule out multiple origins for the Wednesday morning fire that destroyed the building.

“I fell confident in saying that ... the initial fire in the basement was totally extinguished and the entire building was further checked with a thermal image camera for any extension or hot spots,” Hale said. “Additionally there was about four to six inches of water in the basement after fire operations ended after the first fire. I’m confident the fire did not rekindle in the basement.”

Hale noted the vacant building had no electricity and while the original fire was in the basement, when firefighters returned, there were fires on all three levels.

Hale said after investigating the blaze Thursday, he can not rule out multiple points of origin.

“There were heavy fire and smoke damage at several points in the building,” he said. “I think the firefighters and fire officers on the scene did an excellent job of extinguishing the fire and no injuries were reported.”

Hale said there was clear evidence of squatters and vandalism in the building including broken windows that weren’t boarded, grafitti and holes punched through walls.

“Upon our first arrival to the fire scene there was evidence of clothing and sleeping supplies at the exterior of the building,” he said. “That was gone upon our arrival to the second fire scene.”

The investigation remains in its preliminary stages, Hale said.