Officials release names of young man, teen killed in motor home fire

By: Hilary Magacs Email
By: Hilary Magacs Email

TELLICO PLAINS, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Detectives with the Monroe Co. Sheriff's Office are still trying to figure out why a motor home caught fire early Wednesday morning, killing a 22 year-old man and a seventeen year-old girl.

Authorities said the RV was fully engulfed by the time they arrived shortly after 1:00 a.m. After the flames were put out, they found the bodies of 17-year-old Brittany Long and 22-year-old Caleb Lawrence inside.

"Especially that young. I mean, anybody. To die that way and everything. Especially in a fire, it's horrible," said Curtis Wallace, a neighbor.

Neighbors said they heard a loud explosion before the RV caught on fire.

"You could hear it all over the place - at night it echoes around here pretty good," said Gary Giddens, who lives a few roads over.

Firefighters from three different departments quickly got to the motor home, but it was too late.

"They were a lively crowd, you know, but they were always friendly and stuff. It's a shame it happened," said Giddens.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said Lawrence's father, Johnny, was also inside, but managed to escape. He was released from the hospital a few hours later.

As for how the fire started?

"We called in state Bomb and Arson to investigate the fire and determine what may have happened. Right now, it's undetermined what happened, pending the autopsies," said Bill Bivens, Sheriff of Monroe County.

Friends said the Lawrences came up from Florida, and were good friends with the property owner, who let them stay in his RV. They said Lawrence and Long had been dating for awhile, and said their thoughts are with the couples' family members right now.

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