The emergency call went out minutes before midnight on New Year's Day. Some 30 firefighters from the Wise Volunteer Fire Department and neighboring departments fought the blaze and sub-zero temperatures for nearly five hours into the Jan. 2 pre-dawn, leaving the building gutted. An electrical source was fingered as the cause.
Located within hailing distance of the Wise County Courthouse, Wise Lumber & Supply was established in 1950 by Tom Aker, and is still a family business to this day operated by Aker's grandson, Thomas Kennedy. The family celebrated the reopening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday in conjunction with this past weekend's Wise Fall Fling Festival.
“Really and truly the most important thing to be said is the community got behind us and supported us and wanted to see us rebuild and reopen, and we did,” Kennedy said. “I’d say we had close to 500 people come through (last Friday through the Fall Fling weekend).”