Smyth County

Fire burns vacant business in Marion

Marion ice house fire

MARION, Va. - Flames gutted a vacant building that once housed a business. Smoke was still coming from the rubble Tuesday afternoon, but not much remains of what was once an ice plant in Marion, Virginia. Click here to view photos from before and after the fire.

Special Agents with Virginia State Police comb the rubble at the fire scene looking for clues as to what started a fire Tuesday morning at a vacant building at the end of College Street.

Patty Hendren lives next door and says her dog woke her up. "I heard a big boom, that's the only way I can describe it. I saw a reflection in my neighbor's house of a fire. I turned around and everything was in flames," she said.

Fire crews say when they got to the scene the building was fully engulfed. Town leaders tell us the building has been vacant for decades. "This was an old structure. It dates back to the late 1800s. It was used as an ice plant, where they actually manufactured ice back in the days before they had refrigerators," says Ken Heath, spokesperson for Marion, Virginia.

Because the building didn't have any electricity, agents with Virginia State Police were called in to look for a cause. They weren't able to come up with any concrete answers. "Not at this point. The structure is so unsound and unstable. We're still in the process of trying to find the cause of the fire," says Joseph Campbell, Special Agent with Virginia State Police.

The property owner on scene Tuesday morning told town officials he had issues with vagrants staying in the building, but it's still being determined if anyone was inside the building at the time of the fire.

Because the property is only a few feet from the railroad tracks trains were stopped Tuesday morning because of the close proximity to the flames. Trains were running again by mid-morning.

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