UPDATE: The TBI is now involved in the investigation into a Marion County fire.

On Friday, the old McReynolds High School was destroyed. 

The historic school is no stranger to fire. Over the last year, there have been three fires in the now vacant building.

The South Pittsburg Fire Chief isn't ready to call this fire an arson but says it is very suspicious. He is asking anyone with any information to come forward.

Neighbors are still in disbelief after another fire happened at the school in South Pittsburg.

"It is a historic site. It was burnt down. I don't know how that happened in, but it was burnt down. Other than that, here we go again!" Barry McCain said.

The school was built in the 1920s for African-American students.

In 1965, the school had its first fire.

The South Pittsburg Volunteer Fire Department put out two fires at the school in 2017.

Chief Corey Comstock believes foul play was involved.

It happened one year ago, roughly." Chief Comstock explained. "The back part of the building was set on fire. They ruled it arson the time.

It is still unclear who is responsible for starting these fires. The building has been vacant for the last five years. It's been used by the city as a storage facility.

" just see the city, they go up through there," McCain said. "Sometimes little kids will ride their four- wheeler up there."

It's still too early to tell if the latest fire will be ruled an arson. For now, city officials are deciding what to do with the property. 

"They will probably take it down and put some kind of memorial," Chief Comstock added. "There is a lot history there, being built in the 1920's and they integrated in 1965. There is a lot of history here."

Anyone with any information about this fire should contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 942-3004 or the South Pittsburg Police Department at (423) 837-5000.



PREVIOUS STORY: The Marion County Sheriff's Office and South Pittsburg Police Department are asking for the public's help with the fire investigation at the old McReynolds High School building.

The fire happened on Friday afternoon.

Detective Matt Blansett tells Channel 3, foul play is suspected.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine confirms the bureau is assisting with the investigation.

The South Pittsburg Fire Department is also assisting.

McReynolds was an all-black during school segregation and was abandoned when it closed in 1966. This is the third fire this year at the school.

If you have any information about this case, please call the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at (423) 942-3004 or South Pittsburg Police Department at (423) 837-5000.

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PREVIOUS STORY: Friday, fire crews in South Pittsburg worked to save what’s left of McReynolds High School.

McReynolds was an all-black school during the time of segregation. The school has been empty ever since it closed in 1966.

People who live nearby say they are frustrated the fires keep happening to this historic building.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they saw large flames coming from the building. They had to wait for the fire to weaken before they could start attacking it.

“The exterior Walls started to fall because they had cracks in them,” said Fire Chief Corey Comstock. “We just stayed back and tried to maintain what we had, and to protect the surroundings from it spreading.”

William Ikard has lived in this community for 68 years. Ikard attended McReynolds High when he was a kid. He lived behind the school when the very first fire at the school happened in 1963.

“They just left the gym,” said William Ikard. “We went to school in the gym for 8th, 9th and 10th grade. Then we went to South Pittsburg High School.”

Earlier this year, another fire ripped through the building. Fire officials say that fire was intentional. After fire crews put it out, the next day it was back up in flames.

Ikard says he's disappointed fires keep happening. Kyan Mitchell agrees.

“Everybody was shocked. We just saw a cloud of smoke in the air and come to find out somebody did it,” said Kyan Mitchell.

Fire crews placed caution tape around the school to keep people out. Community members are worried about the future of the property.

“It makes it look bad because no one really takes care of the property,” said Tammy Ikard. “If the children are riding their bikes and get curious to go through there they could get hurt.”

Ikard says even if the building must be torn down, there should still be something in place to remember the history.

“There's a lot of memories up there. Take it down to make something new, just put up a plaque,” said Ikard.

No one was hurt in this fire.

It is still under investigation to determine the cause.

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PREVIOUS STORY: Firefighters are battling a blaze at the old McReynolds High School in Marion County Friday afternoon.

Firefighters arrived at the scene around 3:00 p.m. EST.

Det. Matt Blansett confirms the fire and says no injuries have been reported.

It took about two hours for firefighters to put out the flames, due to the materials used to build the school.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Det. Blansett says a full investigation will be conducted.

According to a South Pittsburg historical website, McReynolds High was abandoned in 1965 following the integration of Marion County schools.

Channel 3 has a crew at the scene, working to learn more.

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