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Johnny Cash's Former Home Burns To Ground

Home Was Visited By Stars, U.S. Presidents

POSTED: 2:36 pm CDT April 10, 2007
UPDATED: 6:13 pm CDT April 12, 2007

Johnny Cash's longtime lakeside home, a showcase where he wrote much of his famous music and entertained U.S. presidents, music royalty and visiting fans, was destroyed by fire on Tuesday.

Related: Images | Raw Aerial Video | Video | Images: Before Fire | Video | Video: Fans React To Fire | Video: Daughter Reflects On Family Home

Hendersonville's Fire Chief Jamie H. Steele said he thought a wood treatment used on the inside and outside the house had ignited and started the fire.

"Something ignited it and we pretty much had fire from one end to the other," Steele said.

A large renovation project that has been occurring at the home since it was purchased by former Bee Gees member and brother Barry Gibb.

Dispatchers said all but one of Hendersonville's engines had responded to the fire in the suburb northeast of Nashville.

Steele said what the house was built with contributed in the blaze.

"A lot of heavy, heavy timber in house and once that got burning, there's not much you can do," he said.

Steele said the fire department was also called to the home in the 1980s for a chimney fire.

Cash and his wife June Carter Cash lived at the home until their deaths in 2003.

Gibb bought the lakefront property in January 2006.

No one was injured during the blaze, according to authorities.

Presidents, Musicians, Fans Among Home's Visitors

While the Cashes lived there, the home was visited by everyone from U.S. presidents to ordinary fans.

Related: Images | Raw Aerial Video | Video | Images: Before Fire | Video

The Oak Ridge Boys are among that got their start at the Cash's home. Singer and songwriter and Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson landed a helicopter in the backyard to get the attention of Cash. Kristofferson was trying to get Cash to record one of his songs. Kristofferson's effort finally worked.

"I don't have any word for this. My heart is just gone," said Country Music artist, neighbor and long-time friend Marty Stuart. "I called (son) John Carter, he's in Oregon. He didn't know anything about it, so. ... This just happened so fast, there's nothing you can say at this point, it's unbelievable. It's a big piece of the family gone."

"There probably would not be an Oak Ridge Boys today if it weren't for the help that Johnny and June gave us. I can recall many fun times and memories spending time in this house, you know. It was a landmark here in this neighborhood where we all live. It's a terrible tragedy to see something like this," said Oak Ridge Boy member Richard Sterban.

"Well, it's a very sad day for our family and I'm sure for the Gibb family as well. This house was a historic house. There was not another house like it anywhere in the country. We're just devastated not only for our memories and the great times we had in the house with John and June and the whole family, my Momma and Daddy lived here until they both passed away. There's so many memories in that house and it's just difficult to see it burn," said realtor and brother of Johnny Cash, Tommy Cash.

Billy Graham, Jane Seymour and Robert Duvall were among other famous visitors to the home.

The Cash family's possessions were not in the home at the time of the fire.

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