A local man has been arrested and charged in connection with Monday’s fire that destroyed Hunley Repair Shop in Harrogate.
John David Collins, 23, of Harrogate was arrested Monday in Tazewell after wrecking his vehicle, according to police. The Tazewell Police Department charged him with Driving Under the Influence.
During a routine inventory of the vehicle, Collins was discovered to be in possession of numerous saws, drills and miscellaneous tools. The Claiborne County Criminal Investigations Division was called in to assist. Detectives Bradley Duncan and Josh Russell responded. The tools were identified by two victims, and were linked to two separate thefts that had occurred in north Claiborne County, and in Bell County, Ky., according to Duncan.
The burglary which occurred in Claiborne County is also the subject of an arson investigation at Hunley Repair Shop. The garage, located on Londonderry Rd., was burglarized and subsequently burned, possibly in an effort to conceal the crime, said police.
Early Monday morning, a neighbor heard a large explosion and looked out to find the roof of the business already collapsed with the building in flames. The building was the former home of Imperial Trucking.
Seven fire trucks responded to the scene, in addition to the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department and Claiborne County EMS and EMA, according to Harrogate Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rick Davis. The Harrogate Volunteer Fire Department was the lead department with mutual aid coming from the Cumberland Gap Volunteer Fire Department and the Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department. The Claiborne County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security also responded.
A second large explosion occurred as the firefighters were setting up their hoses. No one was injured.
Collins was taken to the Claiborne County Jail and is charged with Theft over $2000 and DUI.
Officials are still investigating, and the Claiborne Progress will have more information as it becomes available.