Sunday morning McMinn County business fire believed to be arson

Here's what the fire looked like when firefighters received the call at 6:15 on Sunday morning. (Photo credit: McMinn Co. Rescue Squad)

NIOTA (WATE) – State fire officials say a Sunday morning business fire in McMinn County may be arson.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office says preliminary results in the cause of the fire at Shoemaker Wrecker Service, 920 County Road 316 in Niota, indicate the fire is suspicious in nature. They are calling the fire “incendiary,” but are still seeking information on its cause.

Firefighters were called to the business around 8:30 a.m. Sunday. They found a burning recreational vehicle and a burning car garage nearby.

Previous story: Niota fire nearly destroys a man’s business

The business owner, who is also chief of the next door Union Grove Volunteer Fire Department, was out of town. He told WATE 6 On Your Side shortly after the fire that he believed it was arson.

Shoemaker says he lost six classic cars that he used in car shows valued at around $200,000.

Anyone with information about the fire is urged to call the Arson Hot Line at 1-800-762-3017. Callers can remain anonymous. Cash rewards are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

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