Randy Lee Hammontree, 32, was identified by the Cleveland Police Department as the person found inside the BP store located on Paul Huff Parkway after a fire was reported just before 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Since the store sells fuel, it was evident there would be some presence of gasoline which would be tracked inside the store, but according to Cleveland Fire Department Fire and Arson investigator Lt. Donnie Sullivan, there was “a lot of an accelerant” inside.
Hammontree, a second-shift employee of the store, reportedly was to close the store at 11 Monday night, according to Evie West, information officer for Cleveland Police Department.
“We are still investigating all possibilities,” West said.
“This could have been a robbery, an accident or something else,” she added.
The autopsy to be performed today on Hammontree’s body could reveal additional answers, according to Sullivan’s statement.
Sullivan said Hammontree lived near the store and would reportedly walk to work.
It was not known why he would have been in the store at that hour. Store employees typically open for their business day at 6 a.m.
“We have no indication why he was back there at that time of the morning (before 5),” West said.
Tennessee Bomb and Arson agents were on the scene Tuesday with trained canines that can detect the presence of accelerants.
Officials collected evidence and eventually were able to complete their initial investigation; they will now move forward to the autopsy.
CFD firefighters rushed to the scene Tuesday at 4:54 a.m. after reports of a fire inside the station.
“We are going to Knoxville today for the autopsy,” Sullivan said this morning.
The victim’s cause of death and the cause and origin of the fire have yet to be determined as the investigation continues.
CPD’s Criminal Investigations Division and the state Bomb and Arson office are working with Sullivan on the investigation.