Business Owners Picking Up Pieces After Fire

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Monroe County (WVLT) A fire wipes out a business plaza in Tellico Plains overnight.

Firefighters from across the county had to battle thick smoke and flames as they worked for four hours to put out the fire.

Investigators spent the day on the scene, but have not determined a cause.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb has more on why it's not just a property loss for folks there.

With the loss of the building, a large area of south Monroe County also lost veterinary service.

Service they've come to depend on for a quarter of a century.

Monday night's fire to a business plaza was more than just a big blaze, it's affecting the entire Tellico Plains community.

The Monroe County Animal Hospital has operated the town's only vet clinic, and for the first time in 25 years it is without basic vet services.

Dr. Boyd Curtis says, "the outpatients, the vaccinations, the minor illnesses that could be treated at home so that the clients wouldn't have to drive to Madisonville all the time."

Dr. Curtis says the clinic has more than two thousand patients they see there.

He expects it will have a big impact on his main office between Madisonville and Sweetwater.

"In this office we do everything by appointment so that people don't have to wait so we're going to have to do some adjustments for that because we know there will be some people coming in here from the Tellico office."

The fire also destroyed Mark Sewell's cabinet shop.

It's especially tough for him because he is a Notchey Creek volunteer firefighter.

"I couldn't fight this one. Plus, my brother firemen wouldn't let me. No, you need to sit this one out they said."

State bomb and arson officials are on the scene trying to determine what caused the fire, that's still too hot to get into.

Jamie Sisson, the Tellico Plains Fire Chief says, "try to get the roof back where we can get the hot spots out and try to get in and see what caused the fire."

Meanwhile, Dr. Curtis is trying to get a temporary clinic in the town, but it won't be overnight.

"Where ever we set up a temporary practice it's got to be inspected by the state and we have to have a premise permit to be able to practice."

Dr. Curtis says their intention is to go back into their old location when it is rebuilt.

He says they're also looking at the possibility of keeping it open full time.

But right now, they're just looking at trying to get vet service back to that area.

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