‘Keep us in your thoughts’: Store owners devastated after fire rips through Gray strip mall


GRAY, Tenn. (WJHL) — No injuries were reported in a strip mall fire Wednesday afternoon in Gray.

The fire happened at a building which once housed the Sit-N-Bull restaurant along Gray Station Road near Gray Elementary.

The fire is currently under control and no injuries have been reported, according to Gray Volunteer Fire Department Safety Officer Ed Green.

“One of the units caught on fire and we think it may have gotten into the attic, which lit off the entire strip mall,” Green said.

Green said the fire spread to three vehicles and also melted siding on a nearby building.

The fire resulted in a large smoke plume visible from as far away as Kingsport.

Jessica Ray, owner of the Black Sheep Market located in the strip mall, was inside her store when the fire started.

“I got outside and the building was just on fire within like five minutes, the whole roof was on fire with a big cloud of black smoke and it was just gone,” Ray said. “It was so fast.”

Ray’s discount grocery store has been open since 2014.

“It meant a lot to me, because it helps a lot of people, you know, it’s a very rewarding job,” she said. “I love all the customers that come in, I’ve gained a lot of good relationships and I just hope that I can start over and keep it going because I really love the store and I don’t want to not have it and I just want to do whatever I can to just start over, I guess.”

Firefighters from Washington County, Johnson City, and Sullivan County responded to the fire.

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