Landmark East Tennessee drive-in destroyed in fire

(Courtesy: WJHL)

Unicoi, Tenn. (WJHL) –  A Unicoi, Tennessee landmark restaurant was destroyed by fire Tuesday night.

Crews rushed to Clarence’s Drive-In, 4021 Unicoi Drive, just before 11 p.m.. Within half an hour, the building was engulfed in flames.

Deputies shut down Unicoi Drive while firefighters from three departments tried in vain to save the building.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley called it a sad day for Unicoi County.  “It’s a landmark,” he said. “Everyone around here has eaten here through the years.”

Hensley said he believed Clarence’s opened in 1969.

The Sheriff said it was too soon to comment on a possible cause of the fire, but he said he planned to ask for the Tennessee State Fire Marshall’s Office to assist in the investigation.