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Steam & Excursion > More Fire related news, Tweetsie Railroad

Date: 03/17/08 07:20
More Fire related news, Tweetsie Railroad
Author: mikado

Fire destroys gift shop, museum at Tweetsie Railroad
Blaze lasted over three hours
Victoria Cherrie
Photo Courtesy of Winston LawrenceA photo of Tweetsie Railroad, taken on Sunday.Investigators spent today shoveling through ashes to determine what caused an early morning fire that destroyed the Tweetsie Railroad Museum and gift shop at the tourist attraction about two hours northwest of Charlotte.

It could have been a lightning strike or some type of electrical problem, said Cathy Robbins, whose family operates the 50-year-old park off U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. Firefighters responded about 4 a.m.

The one-story wood building – believed to be an original train depot – was consumed with flames fanned by high winds, said Blowing Rock firefighter Mark Winston Lawrence.

“There was nothing we could do to save it,” he said. Firefighters from Boone and Blowing Rock spent more than three hours extinguishing the fire that also caused minimal heat damage to a second building about 10 feet away that houses restrooms.

The museum was one of many attractions at the old fashioned park that celebrates the Tweetsie Railroad, which used to run between Boone and Johnson City, Tenn. The 1,300 square-foot building, which also housed a first-aid center and concession stand, was moved from Boone to the park in 1954, Lawrence said.

Flames roared through the museum, burning history with it. Today there was nothing left of train timetables, old railroad lanterns and the initialized boots and leather saddle once owned by the late Fred Kirby – a gun-toting, singing cowboy who was a Charlotte television personality and hosted a kids show in the 1960s.

“You can’t put a price on the memorabilia,” Robbins said. “It’s just very sad.”

The park is still scheduled to open on May 2 as planned, she said.


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