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Longtime White Bluff restaurant Hog Heaven was destroyed in a fire last Thursday.

Hog Heaven restaurant owner Linda Gentry is trying to determine if she can reopen the popular White Bluff barbecue restaurant she opened with her late husband, Lawrence, 30 years ago after it was destroyed in a fire last Thursday.

Gentry said she is trying to salvage some of the barbecue restaurant’s equipment. Because her husband died last April, the restaurateur is grieving the loss of her two great loves.

“I didn’t know whether to throw up or cry. I’m just sick over this. When you drive past something that’s been part of your life, and you see all those flames, you’re just devastated. Just after losing him, and then having to go through this, too. We both started the restaurant,” Gentry said.

According to Gentry, the restaurant had been closed on the Tuesday prior to the Thursday fire because a gas line running from the lot next door had been damaged when someone was bushhogging. The restaurant is normally closed on Wednesdays. Around 8 a.m. Thursday, Gentry said she called Greater Dickson Gas Authority and was told the line had been repaired.

Gentry said her daughter Sherrolyn “Sissy” Choate met a gas company employee at the restaurant at 10 a.m., at which time they turned the gas back on and lit the pilot lights. Gentry said everyone left a few minutes later.

Gentry said there were video cameras in the restaurant that show the fire started on the stove, but she didn’t know much more than that.

According to White Bluff Fire Chief Eric Deal, the fire department got a call around 11:15 a.m. Thursday about a fire at the restaurant, called in by a passerby who saw flames in the windows. By the time his crew arrived on the scene, the restaurant was fully engulfed, Deal said.

Fire departments from White Bluff, Burns, Claylick, and Dickson County Fire and Rescue worked together to contain the blaze. The building was inspected by a state fire marshal working under The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the investigation is still ongoing.

Deal, who is also a regular customer of Hog Heaven, said, “I just had breakfast there last Saturday. I hate having to find another place to have breakfast. There’s a lot of disappointed customers.”

Last Friday, Greater Dickson Gas Authority CEO Mark O’Neal said in a voicemail message that he could not comment about the fire since the investigation was ongoing.

TBI Communications Director Josh DeVine said in an email last Friday night that “We don’t have much to offer on the case, other than to confirm we have special agents investigating the fire at Hog Heaven this week, at the request of the White Bluff Fire Department. The investigation remains active and ongoing.”

The restaurant, a landmark in White Bluff since 1990, was more than just a favorite eatery, according to White Bluff Mayor Linda Hayes. The restaurant contained many pictures of local residents and memorabilia from the town.

“It was almost a museum for White Bluff. It had a lot of personal feeling for the community,” Hayes said.

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