Investigation continues into cause of Corinth fire

Lena Mitchell | Buy at photos.djournal.com John and Linda Cates on Wednesday stand outside the window of the stall where John's merchandise was displayed inside Tina's Treasures, which they assess was a total loss.

Lena Mitchell | Buy at photos.djournal.com
John and Linda Cates on Wednesday stand outside the window of the stall where John’s merchandise was displayed inside Tina’s Treasures, which they assess was a total loss.

By Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – The investigation is ongoing into the cause of a Tuesday night fire that destroyed many business stalls inside the Tina’s Treasures flea market on U.S. Highway 72 near Fulton Drive and the adjoining Briley’s discount store.

The building, which formerly housed Howell Lumber, shared a parking lot with Russell’s Beef House, but Russell’s and the Scotty Little auction house behind it were separated from the burned building by some distance and never appeared to have never been endangered.

The state fire marshal and Corinth Fire Chief Billy “Lucky” Briggs were on the scene Wednesday morning to begin investigating the cause of the fire. However, Briggs said late Wednesday that no preliminary cause had been determined, and they would be interviewing more people.

Lynda Cates, whose husband John Cates had a booth inside Tina’s Treasures, told Briggs on Wednesday that her husband had reported to the landlord more than once that there was a smell of gas in the building after it rained.

John and Lynda Cates had come to see what damage was done to his booth, where he sold all kinds of merchandise, mostly home furnishings.

“The most special piece was probably the full-size Egyptian mummy, and it had already been sold but not picked up,” John Cates said.

Booth owner Gale Landry of Guys, Tenn., also was at the site early Wednesday to survey and take photos of the damage.

“My daughter lives in Corinth and drove by several times last night and told me what was happening and how big a fire it was,” Landry said. “When I stepped outdoors at my house I could even smell the smoke there.”

Landry said she had a variety of odds and ends that she described as “country luxe,” but the business was not her livelihood.

“The one piece I’m most sorry about is a dresser I had given my daughter but that she had never picked up,” she said.

Briggs said it will probably be another week before a cause of the fire is determined.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com