Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The great Knoxville fire of 2007

By now most folks are aware that the McClung Warehouses on Jackson Avenue in downtown Knoxville caught fire early this morning, igniting fires in neighboring buildings including the Philco Warehouse. Much of the Old City had to be evacuated. Mark Saroff owns the McClung Warehouses and I also seem to remember him once telling me that he lived in the building as well. When WIVK reported that one person who lived in the building got out, I presumed it to be Saroff. I hope that Mark is alright, as the press is reporting. WBIR reports that four firefighters have been seriously injured and are in hospital. Our thoughts, prayers, and heart goes out to these brave firefighters.

Here is a video I found of the Philco fire this morning.

Anyone who follows Knoxville and Knox County politics knows that the McClung Buildings have been a subject of controversy for a very long time. The city threatened to use eminent domain to sieze them and/or condemn them, while Mark Saroff, the property owner and developer, has been trying for ages to secure funding to renovate McClung. Mark was a supporter in my suspended campaign for Knox County Commission .

(Hat Tip: News-Sentinel)

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At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 6:17:00 PM, Blogger Mike Faulk said...



At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 6:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad Mr. Saroff is O.K. The fact is the building was not approved for a residence yet, he continued to live there. It is a shame that the owner allowed the building to get in such horrible shape. It's a little hard to get someone to invest in you when you have multiple mortgages and tax leins. Question. Why was he living in a building that was not approved for single family use? Why did he allow the building to get in such bad shape that it caught fire, needlessly causing firefighters to get hurt.

At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:33:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Perhaps he chose to live in the building because it belonged to him. I do not live in my house because Jefferson County says that it is "fit" for single family use. I live where I do because I own the property and it is mine to do with as I please.

As for the condition of the building, you'll have to ask Mark that question. I can tell you that if I owned those buildings, I would have had very different plans for them and would have done things very differently-but I didn't own those buildings, Mark Saroff did.

I deal with the issue of the building somewhat in today's radio podcast that is about to be posted.

At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 11:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the delinquent taxes and mortgages?

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 11:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The warehouses had been a sore point for years. Mark was unwilling to work with anyone. He wanted free money and was always complaining that no one was helping him, yet he couldn't come up with any good ideas or plans. The City is partly responsible because they should have condemned them and taken them from Mark, so someone with Money could have saved them. People have offered him money but he never wanted to give anything up. Waiting for a hand-out.

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 7:13:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Yet no one wants to admit that part of the problem is that KCDC, the city, and the county do give such "hand outs" to other developers. Now...I do not like that, but it is reality in the world of Victor Ashe/Bill Haslam Knoxville.

At Tuesday, February 13, 2007 11:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The things is as all the evidence adds up, everyone will see that this thing is BIGGER than everyone knows! I mean, Saroff is living in the building AGAINST CODES, his truck is REPORTED STOLEN the day before (which the police report states the ignition was not punched nor was the car hot-wired), A SECOND INSURANCE policy was taken out and paid on FEBRUARY 1ST, Mr. Saroff made TWO 911-CALLS THE MORNING OF THE FIRE--the first to report the building on fire and then a second call to say 'oh yeah, someone broke in and I think they started the fire', MANY CITY COUNSILMEN AND WOMEN are trying to cover this story up and ARE THAT THE FOREFRONT of the investigation which will come out later, MR SAROFF WAS CLOSE TO $20,000.00 owed in back taxes (you and I know, if any one of us were that far in debt we would be prosecuted alittle faster than 3 years), mortgage and share holders were about this far from FORCLOSING ON THE SAROFF PROPERTIES, and the day of the fire was the same day that the CITY OF KNOXVILLE DEMANDED FINAL PLANS FOR THE PROPERTY FROM SAROFF AFTER YEARS OF INACTIVITY AND THREATENED TO TAKE AWAY DOWNTOWN TAX BREAKS AND GRANT MONEY!

This is not all circumstancial evidence and this will all come out. Please don't be swayed by politicians and media who are pawning this off as an accident or by a third party starting the fire. All the above adds up and is too strong not to implicate the owner, Mr. Saroff, and a handful or crooked COUNCILMEN AND WOMEN!

Wait and see!

At Wednesday, February 14, 2007 12:29:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

And what happens, anon, if the evidence shows-after an investigation, that Mr. Saroff is not at fault...then what will you say?

And the building was his property...he has the God-given right to be on the premises if he so pleases

At Wednesday, February 14, 2007 5:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A God-given right to be on the premises if he so pleases...? Yes. To completely bypass laws and codes that are enforced to the rest of the city and set up residence in a building that if you or I did the same, we would be removed on the spot...? NO! It's ignorant thoughts and comments like that that make readers who read these blogs dumber by buying into political rhetoric that is being told! Just because he owns these buildings (as is a HUGE political endorser of MANY East Tennessee politician) does not give him the right to make up his own rules!
THIS, although important in understanding how these people operate, is not the issue. The main issue is that right now all the evidence points to arson with the lead suspect the OWNER. True until proven-otherwise--or atleast until the evidence is 'shoved and shouldered' to another person as I'm sure will be done.
As for an apology if I'm wrong? I guess Mr. Saroff will have to live with himself for a while if he gets away with what is alledged that he did. BUT--if I am COMPLETELY DISPROVED 100%, I will issue an if anyone here cares. However, THIS STORY, if all comes out, is BIGGER than you and both know!

At Wednesday, February 14, 2007 11:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! Just as I suspected! Wednesday, February 14th, KFD investigators said that BARRY THOMAS, the man who was found with Saroff's missing car in N.C. IS NOT A SUSPECT IN THE ARSON JOB ON THE DOWNTOWN WAREHOUSES! In fact, the media is now reporting that Saroff GAVE THOMAS THE CAR the day before and THEN CALLED AND REPORTED IT STOLEN in an attempt to make it look like it was stolen--so he could have a back story!! The police reports back this up saying that the car was not hot-wired or the column punched and that THOMAS HAD THE KEYS TO THE TRUCK!

Again, evidence mounting. Who does it point to? No one else but MR. SAROFF HIMSELF!

Looks like my apology to him is fading quickly!


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