The investigation continues after a float caught fire at the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade last week, according to Oneonta Fire Chief Arthur Willis.
The incident took place at the intersection of Ala 75 and McCay Avenue near the Blount County Co-op and the Corner Market.The fire stopped the parade for at least 20 minutes after the Oneonta Fire Department arrived on the scene, according to Blount County-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce executive director Aimee Wilson.
Rumors surrounding what started the fire have been rampant on social media, as well as among the community, however, no official cause has been announced.
Many people have joked about the incident, but Wilson says it is a serious matter.
“It’s not funny to me,” she says.“You have thousands of people lining the streets watching a parade and someone could have gotten hurt. When I saw those flames, my heart sunk. I’ve thought about a lot of scenarios that might happen during the parade that are out of my control, but this was not one of them.”
The float featured a monster truck on a flatbed trailer, and the interior of the truck along with some items in the truck were affected by the fire, Willis says. After fire trucks arrived, the fire was under control in less than a minute.
“I hope it was an accident and not someone who did something intentionally that could have put thousands of lives in danger,” Wilson said.