The Local Bar and Grill Catches Fire

Meg Butler

News Editor

The Monteagle Fire Department responded to a structure fire call in the early hours of Thursday, August 31, at the Local Bar and Grill. The first engine arrived on scene at 2:29 a.m., nine minutes after the first dispatch call. “The fire was reported via a 911 caller,” said the fire chief.

When the Monteagle Fire Department arrived on the scene, the fire had reached the roof of the building. Chief Travis Lawyer directed firefighters to carry out an “interior attack” on the fire, where firefighters bring the hose inside the building and put it out internally. “Members did a quick attack…it was a pretty extensive fire. The guys all did a very good job.”

Sewanee and Tracy City Fire Departments were called in to assist Monteagle. After an hour, Chief Lawyer called in additional help from the Decherd Fire Department. 

Chief Lawyer considers the fight a success, saying “there were numerous things on the first floor that were actually salvageable, and that’s what it’s all about–protecting life and property.” Monteagle spent roughly 10 hours on the scene fighting fire and “mopping up” afterwards, where firefighters go inside the building to look for any small fires remaining, salvage property, and prevent reignition. 

The Local Bar and Grill opened in 2021, although the building was built in 1978. The building was a metal frame construction that had several wood frame stick-built rooms within. The floor plan was “huge” according to Chief Lawyer, with several rooms upstairs above the open space on the first floor that served as their main dining floor. There were also several additions onto the original building, complicating the structure for the firefighters on scene. “A key point to [the fight] was that this fire actually self-ventilated. Usually, we manually vent it, where we put someone on the roof to actually cut a hole to let the heat, gasses, and flames escape to make conditions more favorable in the interior. But this roof had skylights, so the fire burnt through those and self-ventilated…that isolated the fire and allowed [the firefighters] to know where exactly the fire was,” said Chief Lawyer.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) was contacted to investigate, as is customary with commercial fires. Once a federal agent has come to investigate the scene, it could take any amount of time for the agent to officially determine the cause. “Now we’re just awaiting TBI for the deposition of the case. Once they release [their findings], I’ll be able to give more detail into the fire,” said Chief Lawyer. 

This is the second commercial fire in Monteagle in three years. The Smokehouse burned down in April of 2021, less than a mile from The Local.

This is a developing story.

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