Buddy Browning, one of the owners of the Mouse’s Ear Exotic Sports Bar, said on Friday that he was in the process of preparing a news release about the nightclub’s future.
“I just started working on that,” Browning said when contacted by phone.
Browning, who also co-owns the Mouse’s Ear in Knoxville, would not comment further on the future of the business’ location in Gray, which is located off Tenn. Highway 36 near Bobby Hicks Highway.
John Rambo, Washington County’s attorney, said nothing has been filed with the zoning department in regard to the business.
Local and state investigators closed their respective investigations into the fire earlier this year but could not determine the cause.
“The case is closed and the cause (of the fire) was undetermined,” Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Sam Phillips said on Friday about the January fire that gutted the business.
“There wasn’t any suspicion of foul play,” Phillips said.
The blaze started in the early morning hours of Jan. 10 and spread quickly through the building. When firefighters from the Gray Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the scene around 5 a.m. that day, fire had already spread through the entire building.
It took firefighters two hours to get control of the fire, and by 10 a.m. what was left of the structure was still smoldering. The entire roof burned through and collapsed onto the interior of the building, and that’s how it still sits today.
The long-standing strip club weathered another fire right before it opened in 1993 as well as numerous opponents to its offerings. That fire was relatively minor and repairs were completed in a day and a half.