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Roof blows off Sevierville hardware store during storm

10:10 PM, Jul 5, 2012   |    comments
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Strong winds blew the roof off of the Carl Ownby & Co. hardware store located on West Main St. in Sevierville Thursday evening during the storms.

It happened between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. during rush hour. Most if not all of the roof is gone.  No one was injured, which officials say was amazing considering it blew across a busy road at rush hour.

When the roof blew off, it flew across the road and hit the Sevier Co. Juvenile Detention Facility, knocking down at least two power lines along the way.  Debris covered two lanes of the street, when the roof came to rest on the detention facility.  Power was knocked out throughout much of Downtown Sevierville.

Sheriff Ron Seals told 10News there were seven juveniles inside when the accident happened.  No one was hurt.  They were evacuated and are safe in another facility. 

Kim Pierce told 10News she was sitting in traffic in front of the hardware store waiting for a red light when she saw the roof come off the building.

"It was kinda freaking me out and all of a sudden I saw the roof lift up off of Carl Ownby's. It went up and over my head and I started seeing power lines start coming down so I just floored it and tried to get out of the way," said Pierce.

Sheriff Seals said Thursday night that the Sevier County Jail is running on an emergency generator.  The jail is also located across the street from the hardware store.  The Sevier County Minimum Security Jail, located about a mile from Downtown Sevierville, also lost power during the event.  It is also running on emergency power.

Crews worked throughout the evening clearing debris and starting the process to restore power to West Main Street. Sheriff Seals said it could take between 12-15 hours, or more, to get the road clear and power back up.  West Main St. is closed between Winfield Dunn Parkway and Parkway while crews work.

Thousands of people throughout the county are without power.  Sheriff Seals said it could take some time to get it restored. 

10News tried to get through to Sevier County Electric Thursday night. We were unable to reach anyone at the power company, and kept getting a busy signal on the phone line.

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