By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
A local business that had been slated to open its doors early next year was completely destroyed yesterday in an early morning fire.
The Somerset Fire Department received a report of a fire at a building on MedPark Drive, located just off Hail Knob Road, at around 5 a.m. Friday.
“The flames were through the roof when they got the first initial call,” said Somerset Fire Department Captain Junior Fortenberry. Fortenberry said firefighters could easily see the massive blaze from Tradepark Drive, and at that moment paged out for all available firefighters — even those who were off-duty Friday morning.
Fortenberry said the blaze could be seen from as far away as Ky. 2227 and U.S. 27.
The blaze was located at the future home of Harvest Dentistry in the MedPark West development. The building is owned by Dr. Darrell Bartley, who was at the scene of the fire soon after firefighters responded.
“In all honesty, it’s bothering because I’ve been putting my heart into this for several years,” Bartley said on Friday morning, as firefighters worked to put out the last of the blaze.
Bartley said finishing touches on the building were expected to be complete within just a week or two, and he said he’d planned on officially opening his office sometime in January.
Fortenberry said Somerset soon paged for assistance from Parkers Mill, Science Hill, Ferguson, Nancy and Dabney fire departments, which responded with tankers to help fight the blaze. Pulaski County Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson also responded to the blaze.
The Somerset Fire Investigation Team was called to the scene, and Fortenberry said the blaze remains under investigation. Electric services had already been turned on to the building, according to Fortenberry.
“We’re still trying to determine the cause and origin of it (the fire),” Fortenberry said.
Somerset-Pulaski County EMS was on the scene on standby as well, although no bystanders or firefighters were hurt.
Firefighters remained on the scene until around 11 a.m. Friday, working to put out the last of the blaze in the building’s basement.
“It still burned up until around 10 a.m.,” Fortenberry said.
Bartley said his future dentistry office had been in the works for years, and he said he came up with the plan for the building himself and oversaw the project through its construction stages.
“To be that close, it becomes a little emotional, but there are bigger things in life,” Bartley said. “I’ve just to figure out how to manage it.”
When asked what the next step was, Bartley looked to the building, which was deemed a total loss by firefighters.