published Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Cleveland gas station burns; body of worker discovered

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    Cleveland authorities investigate a fatal fire Tuesday at a BP gas station near Paul Huff Parkway and Interstate 75 in Cleveland, Tenn. Staff Photo by Beth Burger

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The remains of an employee were found inside a BP gas station that burned down Tuesday morning, officials said.

Randy Lee Hammontree, 32, of Cleveland, was found dead after firefighters from the Cleveland Fire Department responded just before 5 a.m. to a blaze at 942 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland Police Officer Evie West said at the scene.

Arson investigators still have not determined what sparked the fire, which was contained to the store area and did not spread to the gas pumps.

Hammontree closed the gas station at 11 p.m. Monday and was not scheduled to open the business Tuesday, West said. It's unclear why he was at the gas station, located off Interstate 75's Exit 27, early yesterday morning.

His body has been taken to Knoxville for an autopsy.

The gas station has an internal recording system that investigators may be able to salvage to learn what started the blaze, West said.

Paul Huff Parkway is the northernmost of Cleveland's three exits on Interstate 75. The road is lined with motels, restaurants and numerous businesses.

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