Johnson City Press Monday, June 29, 2015

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Cause unknown in fire that shut down Erwin mental health center

June 10th, 2014 3:48 pm by Brad Hicks

Cause unknown in fire that shut down Erwin mental health center

ERWIN — Local fire officials were investigating the cause to a Tuesday morning fire at Erwin Mental Health Center that led to the facility's closure for the remainder of this week.

Erwin Fire Chief James Bailey said crews with the Erwin Fire Department responded to the Erwin Mental Health Center, located at 218 N. Main Ave. , at approximately 8:20 a.m. Tuesday in reference to the report of a fire. Bailey said it appeared the fire had started in the building's attic area, and smoke had traveled down.

Bailey said the second floor, where the main operations of Erwin Mental Health Center occur, sustained smoke damage, and the building's roof sustained heavier damage. He said fire damage throughout the building was minimal, as it was contained to the building's attic area, and smoke damage was moderate throughout the facility.

The facility's employees were able to clear the building Tuesday morning and none were injured, but Bailey said one firefighter was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Bailey said Tuesday afternoon this firefighter was listed in stable condition at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital.

Fire crews cleared the scene at around 12:30 p.m., and Bailey said fire officials will work to determine the cause. He said it appears the fire started in the attic area from a single source of ignition.

Earlier today, Frontier Health issued a release stating that Erwin Mental Health Center will remain closed through June 13 due to the smoke damage.

Individuals who have scheduled appointments or urgent needs will be seen by their assigned therapist and nurse practitioner at the Frontier Health Watauga Behavioral Health Services location in Johnson City. Individuals experiencing a mental health crisis should call (423) 928-9062.

More information regarding the reopening of Erwin Mental Health Center next week will be announced this Friday. Individuals who have questions concerning their appointments may call Watauga Behavioral Health Services. For children's services call (423) 232-2700 and adult services call (423) 232-2600. 

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