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Ranger Flea Market Fire

posted Aug 15, 2012, 9:27 PM by Jeremiah Smith
 DWIGHT OTWELL
dotwell@cherokeescout.com
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 3:39 PM CDT
SCOTT WALLACE/swallace@cherokeescout.com
Murphy volunteer firefighters spray water down on a fire that destroyed an auction house and a specialty lumber business Wednesday at the Ranger Flea Market.
     Ranger – A building in the middle of Ranger Flea Market burned to the ground Wednesday afternoon.

    Joey Nasworthy, who owns a produce stand at the market behind Ranger Convenience Store, said he was leaving and saw black smoke pouring out of the building.

    "Smoke ignited Styrofoam on the roof, and the fire went through the whole roof at once," he said. "No one was inside."
     A free-standing building in the center of a U-shaped series of connected buildings caught fire. Most of the free standing building that burnt to the ground had been used as an auction house.

    Nasworthy said a fire started at the produce stand in another section of the Ranger Flea Market, but firefighters quickly put it out and prevented the fire from destroying the remaining Ranger Flea Market buildings, Ranger Convenience Store on one side and Foster's Flea Market on the other. Decker's Flea Market is across U.S. 19/129 from the other two flea markets.

    Foster's Flea Market was destroyed in a fire on July 30. It has since been rebuilt.

    Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corp. workers cut electrical wires loose from poles serving the market. After the fire was extinguished by several volunteer fire departments, all that was left were charred poles and remains of chairs. Smoke poured from the rubble, but no one was injured.

    Jeff Kiska said the origin of the fire must have been electrical. He sold lumber out of one side of the auction house, but he had moved most of his lumber out of the building.

    "It seems like the fire started in the auction house," he said. "I ran in and got my iPod. I didn't have time to grab my chainsaw because the flames were coming over the roof. I have never seen anything burn so fast."

    Ranger Volunteer Fire Department Chief Frank Mariano said when he arrived, the building was fully involved. Firefighters knocked out the fire quickly and kept it from spreading. He doesn't know the cause yet.

    Responding to the fire were the Bellview, Hiwassee Dam, Murphy, Ranger and Wolf Creek volunteer fire departments along with the Union County (Ga.) Volunteer Fire Department. The Cherokee County Rescue Squad and Cherokee County Emergency Medical Service also responded.

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