Monday afternoon Tim Barnett spoke with us as he stood feet away from his gun shop and indoor range, devastated and heartbroken as he looked at the very business he built.
Friday night around 80 firefighters from departments across the Tri-Cities region were called to Barnett’s Guns in Hampton for a fire that took hours to put out.
When we spoke to Barnett Monday, he said at the time of the fire he was in Florida buying guns at a distributor show.
“This is very hard on me and, we’ve lost everything…I put the roof on it, I put the ridge cap…this is part of me, I worked hard on this, it took me a lifetime to build that,” Barnett said.
It’s a fire we now know was ignited by a customer at the range, shooting a tracer round.
Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said as far as his department is concerned there is no criminal issue.
“They were shot into, from my understanding, the rubber background, and they are extremely, extremely hot, and water won’t put them out…those tracer rounds will stay lit for some while, so it could have smoldered for 30 minutes, 15 minutes, I don’t know I don’t have a timeframe on when his shot versus when the range master was notified,” Lunceford said.
As Barnett showed us what was left of the indoor range Monday morning, we found customers were on site too.
Kathy Rimmer told us she drove in from Newland, North Carolina because she just had to see the devastation for herself.
“It’s like family, I feel like somebody has died, I mean this is, it’s horrible, I came every week…hopefully they are going to rebuild because this is a really important place for me, very important,” Rimmer said.
Barnett said they are working to re-open as quickly as possible telling us he hopes to have it back up and running by February 1st.