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An Oneida Fire Department pumper applies a steady stream of water to the still-burning Coffey medical clinic on Underpass Drive in Oneida on Thursday, January 30, 2020. The building, which housed four businesses, was destroyed by the blaze.

The south Oneida building housing Doctors Coffey and three other businesses was destroyed by a pre-dawn fire on Thursday.

The four-alarm fire destroyed the Underpass Drive offices of Dr. Bruce Coffey and his sons, as well as the neighboring Mark’s Family Pharmacy, Buckeye Home Medical Equipment and PT Solutions.

Contrary to rampant speculation on social media, the fire did not begin with an explosion, authorities said.

“It was fire like any other, that after it got hot things busted,” said one Oneida Police Department officer who was among the first on the scene. “There were some small explosions of what I would assume were oxygen tanks, but nothing (bigger).”

A cause of the fire was not immediately clear, as firefighters remained on the scene by late morning Thursday, dousing hot spots.

The fire began around 3 a.m. By the time most Scott Countians began their commute to work, firefighters were continuing their efforts to combat the blaze, shuttling water from hydrants along U.S. Hwy. 27 near the Boys & Girls Club of the Cumberland Plateau. Traffic in the area was snarled as a result.

No one was inside the building at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported. The structure was considered a total loss.

The building, originally constructed in 1990, was 17,000 sq. ft. and valued at $1.2 million. It was long the home of Coffey’s family medical practice, as well as the home of Mark’s Family Pharmacy.

Coffey Medical Clinic closed in 2019 after its managing company, South Carolina-based Oaktree, closed. However, the Oneida clinic soon reopened as Doctors Coffey.

The Coffey medical offices were raided by federal authorities in the Summer of 2018 as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation in southeastern Kentucky. Court documents filed in December revealed the extent of that investigation for the first time.

However, no criminal charges have been filed in association with the investigation, which is described by federal authorities as ongoing, and the medical clinic remained open.

In 2019, both Buckeye Home Medical and PT Solutions — a physical therapy clinic — moved to the Underpass Drive location after the former Omedco building at Oak Grove was purchased by First National Bank and scheduled for demolition as the bank prepares to build a new main office at that location.

This is a developing story. Additional details will be added as they become available. See the February 6, 2020 edition of the Independent Herald for the complete story.

EDITORIAL: As businesses are destroyed by fire, where is the empathy?