Club owner fuming after fiery incident - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Club owner fuming after fiery incident

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis night club was set on fire over the weekend for the third time this year.  Sunday night, according to witnesses, a blazing car with the gas pedal fixed to the floor plowed through the front of Cactus Jack's, a bar near Lamar and Winchester.

Monday, the crash had owners fuming.

"I'm extremely angry," owner Lee Culbreath said. "But it's nothing we can't fix.  No one was actually killed.  The building can be repaired."

Crews are now cleaning up the mess caused by a car after it came plunging into the building Sunday evening.  Carri Parish, a bartender at the club, was inside with two of her co-workers when she heard a strange noise.

"To me it sounded like the roof fell in the lobby," she said.
 
That's when Parish made the shocking discovery.

"When I came out of the office and looked at the car, the inside of the car was in flames, and at that point I knew we needed to get out," she said.

Fire Investigators could not confirm if the suspects set the car on fire before it came crashing into the building.
 
"According to witnesses, the backseat of the car was set on fire," Culbreath said. "Then they saw them put something on the gas pedal and then it went right through the front door."

Culbreath said Sunday was the third time someone has tried to set the club on fire within a month.  Now he's taking extra steps to keep the business safe...

"We're putting up posts in front of all the doors," he said. "We'll probably put gates around the parking lot during the week."

Sixteen cameras surround the building, and Culbreath hopes surveillance footage will be able to help authorities catch the suspects.  While there are still many unanswered questions, Culbreath says he believes one of his competitors may be responsible for the crime.

"I don't know if it was random or done on purpose," Parish countered. "I don't know, but it's not going to stop us from closing down."

Culbreath said the bar would be open for business this Friday.

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