Up in smoke: Trace Inn catches fire

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The cause is being sought for a Tuesday afternoon fire that damaged the condemned Trace Inn Motel on West Main Street.
Firemen were dispatched to the vacant motel located across from Ballard Park shortly after 2 p.m. White clouds of smoke billowed from the broken windows of the building as firemen sprayed streams of water on the fire.
According to Tupelo Fire Investigator Jason Cross, the fire appeared to have started in one of the rooms on the front side of the building.
While the exact cause is undetermined, officials have ruled out the possibility of an electrical fire because no electricity or other utilities were being fed to the building.
Police say the motel has been a popular place for vagrants over the past few years.
The fire attracted about a half dozen fire engines to the scene, where broken glass and debris were strewn throughout the lobby of the building.
A broken chandelier dangled from an exposed electrical wire as firemen broke what was left of the windows in front of the building to let some of the smoke escape.
No estimate of damage was available.
The Trace Inn opened in 1961 as a dairy bar and restaurant. Over the years it became the city’s premier location for travelers, diners and conventions. But in 2009, it was condemned after its owners, Tupelo-based JSK Hospitality, filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Now bearing the name Country Hearth Inn and Suites, the building is slated for demolition.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@journalinc.com.