Update: Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman identified the resident that died in the Riverview Grocery fire as Shane Davie Scarborough, 31. Hagaman said that “the delay in “officially” verifying Mr. Scarborough, has been family contact, multi-state identification, and forensic physical identifiers needed from (his) medical providers.”
By Jesse Wood
As the fire that killed one and burned down the Riverview Grocery and Apartments along the Watauga River on U.S. 321 smolders, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office is waiting to reach next of kin before releasing the identity of the deceased, Sheriff Len Hagaman said on Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities received a report of the structure fire at 8210 U.S. 321 in Western Watauga at about 9:15 a.m. on Sunday. Eleven fire departments responded to the Riverview Grocery, which was a total loss, according to Watauga County Fire Marshal Steve Sudderth.
While the fire is still under investigation, Sudderth said he felt comfortable saying that the cause of the fire wasn’t suspicious. Sudderth added that with the gas tanks for the gas station underground, “that wasn’t an issue.”
Sudderth said that there were four apartments, three upstairs and one downstairs, and that William Trivette owned the structure. On Monday, Sudderth said they had an idea as to who died in the fire but were awaiting a positive ID of the body.
Since the fire happened, at least one fundraising campaign has been launched for one of the residents. A friend of David Maine, a resident at the apartments and well known as the former general manager of the Rascals restaurant atop Beech Mountain, launched a GoFundMe.com page for Maine.
Maine woke up to the sounds of his dog barking and was able to evacuate the fire.
“David Maine, a dear friend of mine, narrowly escaped this fire on March 8, 2015 thanks to his faithful dog. He was able to save his car, but lost everything including his best friend, who was the only fatality of this fire. He will need everything, so I’m hoping to help Dave out with some emergency funds to help him rebuild his life,” wrote Brittany Swain, who created the fundraiser.
The American Red Cross is helping displaced residents as the SBI, WCSO and Watauga County Fire Marshall”s Office investigates the fire.