Henry County Tire Business Fire Investigated As Arson
PARIS, Tenn. – Three people have been arrested in connection with an arson investigation after a tire business in Henry County went up in flames early Friday morning.
Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said Deputy Brian Davis was on patrol around 1 a.m. in an area off Highway 79 North in Paris when he passed two men walking on the side of the road.
A moment later, he saw flames coming from inside the Smith Discount Tire Barn. After calling in the fire to emergency dispatch, he turned his patrol car around and detained the two men along with a woman who had stopped to pick them up.
"(He) wanted to know what they were doing in this area at 1:00 in the morning," Sheriff Belew said. "Obviously it appeared to be suspicious at first."
William Tomlin Jr., Diane Tomlin, and Micheal Allred were all charged with arson. Investigators said William Tomlin is an employee at the business.
"We do have two confessions at this time," Sheriff Belew added.
Firefighters responded to the scene, but were unable to save the structure.
Sheriff Belew said 20 storage units in the adjoining parking lot were also destroyed.
The storage facility owner said the units housed boats, antique cars, RVs and some irreplaceable personal antique items. The owner estimated the loss at around $400,000.
Three homes behind the tire store off Jackson Forrest Road had to be evacuated.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but investigators believe it was intentionally set. The state Bomb and Arson unit were at the scene along with the Henry County Sheriff's Office.
Students in the Academy of Energy and Power at Maplewood are busy getting ready for next week's Project Expo and had the opportunity to show it off some of their projects to Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.