Fire Engulfs W. Knox County Condos

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Nearly 20 families are without a home tonight after a West Knoxville condominium fire just before seven o'clock this evening.

Fortunately no one was seriously injured...

Rural Metro firefighters responded to a sea of flames in the back of building number four at the Fox Lake Condominium Complex.

"It started out as a little blaze and it just flamed up all over," said Richard Irwin, a resident of Fox Lake.

More than 100 residents were evacuated.

In the mean time, the Knox County Rescue Squad has checked 18 of the 20 apartments and says so far everyone's out, but it was a close call for one family...

"We noticed the people from the third floor in the back actually had to evacuate and go on to the roof," said Fox Lake resident John Barber.

The trapped family consisted of a husband, wife and their infant daughter.

"They were blocked off in the corner, so there was nowhere for them to go," John said.

John Barber and Richard Irwin are neighbors and they quickly worked together to save the family from the flames.

"I got the ladder off my truck and put it on the building and climbed up there and got them," Richard said.

"It was bad, smoky and real bad on heat and they had to have been very uncomfortable up on the roof," John said. "They were just happy to see us."

The Knoxville Fire Department says a gas grill explosion on the deck of one of the apartments is most-likely what sent the entire building up in smoke.

"It's pretty bad, the entire building's destroyed," said Fred Smith, another Fox Lake resident.

"I feel bad, I feel awful for all of them," said Fox Lake resident Rashad Liverett. "I just hope they're able to get some assistance."

The Red Cross is doing just that, taking care of food, clothing and housing at the Cedar Bluff Holiday Inn.

"I Just feel for all those people," John said. "I work for them everyday, you know, I help all these people and understand what all they have. Everybody has a lot to lose."

Fox Lonas Road and Plainfield Road between Meadecrest Drive are blocked off and will most-likely remain closed overnight.

Crews say while the fire is contained, they'll continue to monitor it throughout the night.

Rural/Metro, the Knoxville Fire Department, the Karns Volunteer Fire Department, and the Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad all worked the scene together.


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