Friday night fire destroys part of East Tennessee gun range

(Courtesy: WJHL)

HAMPTON, T.N. (WJHL) – More than six hours after the first call for help, the fire at Barnett’s Guns and Indoor Range is still burning Friday night.

Flames tore through the top of the gun range near the intersection of 1st Avenue and Highway 19-E in Hampton.

Hope Barnett, daughter-in-law of the owners, said this gun store and firing range meant everything to the Barnett family.

“It’s just devastating,” Barnett said. “My mother and father-in-law have put their whole life savings into this place.”

Barnett said there were two people inside the range when the fire erupted around 4:30 Friday afternoon.

“The range officer came running and said ‘everyone get out the range is on fire,’ Barnett said.

The roof of the gun range collapsed as fire fighters were working to salvage boxes of ammunition, Barnett said they were attempting to get as many guns as they could out of the burning building.

The fire burned for nearly three hours before it became contained. Hampton Fire Chief Johnny Isaacs said 20 fire departments and about 80 fire fighters responded to the scene Friday night.

“The ceiling in the gun range was made out of tires so it was difficult getting into the fire,” Isaacs said. “We had 0 visibility going inside.”

There is still no word on what caused the fire, the Barnett family said they believe it was an accident.

The sales portion of the business appeared to have escaped serious damage and no injuries were reported, two reasons the Barnett family said they are thankful.

“Our main goal was to stop it in the gun range from going into the store and that’s what we’ve done,” Isaacs said.

According to the Barnett’s Gun and Indoor Range website, the family doesn’t have any information on when or if they will reopen.