Watertown house fire

Fire destroyed a home and killed an unidentified man early Saturday morning at 259 Commerce Ave. in Watertown.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has identified Ben Thompson, 72, as the man who died in a house fire early Saturday morning in Watertown.

Watertown fire Chief Blake Haun said the fire was reported at 2:18 a.m. at 259 Commerce Ave. inside the city limits. He said when firefighters arrived, flames had engulfed the home. 

“Our guys had reported heavy fire involvement coming from the back of the house when they arrived,” Haun said. “There was heavy fire from the basement and the first floor on the backside of the house.”

Haun said crews from two Watertown engines and two Wilson Emergency Management Agency engines battled the fire for about five hours, but the home was a total loss. He said no other nearby homes or structures were damaged. 

Haun said investigators were called to the home to look into the death, but Watertown police Chief Bill Laney said there was nothing suspicious about the fire. A preliminary cause of the fire wasn’t available.

Watertown police Detective Michael Henderlight said TBI investigators were at the rental home Monday gathering evidence.  

“[I] can confirm we're investigating this weekend's fire in the 200 block of Commerce Street in Watertown, where authorities found a deceased male individual inside the home,” TBI spokesperson Josh DeVine said in an email. 

A Wilson County property records search showed Monty Granstaff, of Lebanon, as the homeowner. 

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