When Edward and Trena Smiddy’s phone rang at 4:30 Tuesday morning they didn’t know the upset that call would bring.
The 911 operator on the phone told Trena Smiddy the couple’s barn was on fire. But this was not just any barn. It was a barn that had become an area landmark.
In November the Smiddys purchased “The Party Barn” from Hack and Tommy Ayers. During the last 16 years the site had become known not only for its unique atmosphere but for the many antiques and county artifcats housed there.
When the Smiddys arrived at the barn they found it blazing with fire crews on scene.
The Jacksboro Fire Department along with the Caryville Fire Department and the Pinecrest Volunteer Fire Department had responded to the fire around 4 a.m.
“When units arrived on the scene the barn was totally involved,” according to Jacksboro Fire Department Chief Jason Shetterly. Although crews used 18,000 gallons of water on the fire, the barn was a total loss after three hours of battling the blaze. Crews were able to retrieve a few tractors and some other pieces of equipment, Shetterly said.
“It was horrible,” Trena Smiddy said. “It was such a wonderful place to go and have dinner. There was just a peace about being at the barn. We had recently celebrated Christmas with all our family at the barn. It could have been worse; it could have been our house. We are thankful there were no injuries or fatalities. The fire departments worked so hard battling the fire” she said. “The Ayers had 16 years to make memories at the barn and we had just barely two months there,” Trena Smiddy said when speaking about the hurt she felt over the loss of the barn. All that remains is the large stone fireplace in the barn, she said.
At press time the cause of the fire was not known.