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Joe Howell's Store 'Gutted' PDF Print
Friday, 07 December 2007 08:49

A fire called in just after 4 a.m. this morning destroyed a local landmark: Joe Howell’s Store on Highway 19-E in Avery County, Sheriff Kevin Frye says.


“The store itself was completely gutted and the roof was down over most of the building.”


The fire appears to have started in the inside of the building, and had already significantly burned the structure by the time firefighters arrived at the scene.


The blaze closed Highway 19-E and Mullen Hill Road this morning. Due to power outages and lack of access, classes at Riverside Elementary School were canceled. Traffic is moving at a normal pace again, thanks to the quick response of firefighters from Green Valley, Frank, Crossnore, Elk Park, Newland and Linville fire departments, as well as firefighters from Mitchell County. Frye commended them for their efforts.


“As big a building as that is, to get that fire knocked down in the manner and speed that they did, it was a phenomenal job.”


No cause has been determined. A State Bureau of Investigation team and local officials are investigating the fire scene.
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