A fire inside the administrative building of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee at 119 Dameron Ave. in Knoxville will require the social services agency for the Diocese of Knoxville to temporarily relocate its office operations to 3227 Division St.
According to news reports, the Knoxville Police Department responded to a burglary call at the Dameron Avenue offices about 10 p.m. on Nov. 28. When officers arrived, the building was on fire. The Knoxville Fire Department was called, and the fire took about two hours to extinguish.
No one was injured in the fire, but the Knoxville Fire Department reported that half of the roof and a fifth of the building was destroyed.
Fire investigators determined on Nov. 29 that the cause of the fire was arson.
“The fire was unfortunate for our administrative team, but it will have no negative impact on what we’re doing in the field,” said Lisa Healy, executive director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. “We can manage this move to a building that already houses our Office of Immigrant Services on Division Street. We have a few programs, like our Knoxville Pregnancy Help Center, which will need to move with us, but just about all of our other clients are served at other locations, and none of our services or clients will be impacted by this.”
Despite the temporary move, all contact information, including phone numbers, for Catholic Charities remains operational.
Catholic Charities is a coalition of community programs that provides social services throughout the Diocese of Knoxville. Fewer than 5 percent of all clients served are Catholic. Programs include shelters, food pantries, pregnancy help centers, immigrant services, and counseling services.