Update 12:30 pm:
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and city officials will tour the McClung warehouses Monday afternoon after a massive fire ripped through the property early Saturday morning.
Rogero was in Turkey when the massive fire happened, and she recently returned home. She's expected to arrive at the warehouses on the corner of Broadway and Jackson avenues at about 1:30 p.m.
The mayor will answer questions and update the public about plans for the property, according to a city of Knoxville release.
A massive blaze engulfed an abandoned warehouse in downtown Knoxville early Saturday morning nearly seven years after another fire devastated the property.
The Knoxville Fire Department responded to the abandoned McClung Warehouses on the corner of Broadway and Jackson avenues at about 3:30 a.m. As of 10 a.m., crews were still at the scene trying to determine what sparked the blaze.
"Two of the structures were fully involved, one with significant damage and significant collapse. The second has experienced fire but we're keeping it contained. We haven't been able to enter it yet," said Chief Sharp, with the Knoxville Fire Department.
Sharp said while no one was significantly injured, some people slipped on the ice.
KFD spokesperson D.J. Corcoran said fires in old warehouses grow quickly because of the way they were maintained long ago.
"These old buildings - common practice years ago - was to take kerosene and wipe down the wood floors to keep dust down," said Corcoran. "So a lot of these wood floors in these buildings were just saturated with years and years of kerosene oil being rubbed on those wooden floors. So that doesn't help."
Flames shooting from the McClung Warehouses were déjà vu for many Knoxville firefighters. This upcoming Friday marks nearly seven years since crews battled another massive fire on the property. The incident, which was one of the biggest fires in East Tennessee history, left only two of the five warehouses standing and injured three firefighters.
PHOTOS: McClung Warehouses burn again
Officials ordered crews this morning not to enter the buildings because they're structurally unsound, so firefighters fought the fire from the street.
Crews also evacuated several condominiums in the Southeastern Glass building.
"They were just out for a few hours and they have been able to return already," said Chief Sharp.
The building's property manager, Daniel Odle, said every one got out of the building safely.
"Ran outside first - downstairs - make sure it wasn't our building that was in trouble - and then ran back inside to get people up and make sure every one was out. Most every body had gotten out and gotten stirred," said Odle.
Officials said they don't think the fire damaged any buildings near the warehouse.
Arson investigators went to the scene Saturday morning, but haven't released what caused the fire.
"We feel like there was human activity, whether it was accidental or intentional, that a person or persons was involved," said a KFD official at the press conference.
City of Knoxville leaders joined KFD at 11 a.m. to to talk about the city's plans for the abandoned property. The city bought the property in November for $1.45 million, and leaders hope to soon issue a bid to stabilize the buildings on a short term basis.
"The city took possession with the idea and plan of redeveloping the entire block and putting those buildings out for proposals from developers," said Bill Lyons, chief deputy to the mayor. "Prior to that we were going to have a public discussion and a public process about the kinds of things we would like to see. The city is still planning on pursuing that process."
Lyons said he called Mayor Rogero, who is in Turkey, and discussed the future of the buildings after yet another fire.
"There's really value to the building for its historic purpose, there's no doubt about that. But we just have to access and see whether feasibility remains in front of us, and at that time see if it can be salvaged," said Lyons. "Any way the building can be salvaged, obviously we'll want to salvage it. But it's too early to tell whether that's possible. We hope it is."
After the city took possession of the property, city officials said crews secured the ground floor and hired a consultant to develop a stabilization plan for weather and vagrancy. City officials said a meeting was set for February 17th to turn in bids for stabilization work.
"We don't know what's going to happen there," said Bob Whetsel, director of redevelopment with the City of Knoxville. "We work very hard with redevelopment, and this one is going to be hard to do with."
(WBIR) Firefighters battled a massive fire at an abandoned warehouse in downtown Knoxville early Saturday morning nearly seven years since the same property caught on fire.
KFD responded to the abandoned McClung Warehouses on the corner of Broadway and Jackson Avenue at about 4 a.m. When crews arrived, flames were shooting up about 100 feet in the air according to KFD spokesperson D.J. Corcoran.
As of 6:35 a.m., Saturday, crews were still on scene. They have blocked parts of Broadway, Jackson, and Oak avenues, along with some smaller city streets due to water hoses.
City of Knoxville leaders will meet with KFD at 11 a.m. to talk about the city's plans for the abandoned property. The city bought the property in November for $1.5 million, and leaders hope to issue a bid to stabilize the buildings on a short term basis soon.