Watauga business catches fire

By Thomas Wilson

   WATAUGA -- Volunteer firemen extinguished an electrical fire in a building at the American Limestone Company's quarry site here on Monday morning.
   Carter County Sheriff's Department Deputy Janice Black responded to the fire shortly after 10 a.m. Monday. A Terry Moore reported to Black that he was in the main switch house building when he heard a loud "pop" and observed smoke coming from the downstairs space where the electrical area of the building is located.
   Quarry workers opened the doors to the area where the smoke was emanating and observed smoke and fire at the electrical box, according to the police report.
   The Watauga Volunteer Fire Department arrived and extinguished the fire. The Carter County EMS also arrived at the scene.
   Black reported speaking with Joel Bishop -- identified in the report as superintendent of the quarry -- who stated the extent of the damage would not be known for several days. Black reported there was extensive, visible damage to wiring and smoke damage to the inside of the building.
   A company official requested a Star reporter and photographer who were awaiting comment from the company about the incident to leave the property. A Rinker (the parent company) employee who answered the company's telephone number on Monday afternoon said no company foremen were available to speak about the incident.
   Trucks loaded with gravel and rock continued to enter and exit the quarry site after emergency personnel arrived on scene.
   American Limestone Co. is a major aggregate and pre-mixed concrete producer in Central and Eastern Tennessee, and Virginia. CSR America, Inc. -- the U.S. subsidiary of the publicly traded Australian firm, CSR Limited -- purchased the company in 2000.