Deadly Hickman County fire being investigated as homicide - WKRN News 2

Deadly Hickman County fire being investigated as homicide

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NUNNELLY, Tenn. -

Authorities in Hickman County are investigating a fire that killed two elderly residents as a homicide.

The suspicious fire broke out between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. Friday at a home located in the 5000 block of Dodd Hollow Road in Nunnelly, about 15 minutes north of Centerville.

R.T. Rivers, 88, and his 86-year-old wife, Ruby, were both killed in the fire. The Rivers' owned a big factory that caught fire in Hickman County in December, forcing residents to be evacuated from their homes.

Officials said crews had trouble fighting the flames  Friday morning due to a lack of water. The closest fire hydrant is several miles away.

It took investigators much of the day to get into the charred shell and begin sifting for clue. Even twelve hours after the blaze began the fire was still showing hot spots.

Hickman County Sheriff Randal Ward told News 2 firefighters broke through a layer of ice on a nearby pond to get water.

Eventually the blaze was contained.

Sheriff Ward said R.T. Rivers married him and his wife more than 30 years ago.

"The man was also a well noted business owner and minister in the community." if it is the people, a lot of the people here have a stake in it, due to the fact that he married a lot of people including my wife and I some 35 years ago."

The blaze is being treated as suspicious after the state's bomb and arson dog went through the debris and reportedly detected signs of an accelerant.

Family members on the scene said there were smoke detectors in the house but it's unclear if they were working.

The investigation is ongoing.

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