More information has been released on two different fires that resulted in two heavily traveled highways being closed.
On Sunday March 8, firefighters from across Watauga County, along with mutual aid from Avery County, were dispatched to Riverview Grocery on highway 321. The road was closed for at least 6 hours while crews worked to battle the blaze. In total 11 fire departments responded to the fire, which resulted in a fatality due to carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation.
Steve Sudderth, Watauga County Fire Marshal, tells WataugaRoads.com that the cause of that fire is still undetermined, but the area of origin was a wood burning boiler used to heat the building. The approximately 8000 sq ft building was a total loss.
On Saturday April 25, crews from Foscoe Fire Department responded to Coffey Apartments on highway 105. That fire lead to the closure of 105 in the very early morning hours, around 3:45am. That fire started in a single unit apartment due to improperly discarded smoking material, according to Sudderth. Everyone escaped that blaze.
In battling both fires Sudderth praised the efforts of the local Fire Departments, the Sheriff’s Office, medics, and rescue squad units.