By Brooke Stevenson
A structure fire that broke out at about noon on Sunday completely demolished a home on Depont Rd. in Seymour.
The Seymour Volunteer Fire Department received a call about smoke in the area at about 12:30 p.m., and about a minute later it was upgraded to a structure fire.
When the first units arrived at the scene the roughly 3,000 square-foot house was nearly completely consumed by the fire, according to Lt. John Perry at the SVFD.
After it was deemed that the house was a complete loss, firefighters directed their attention to a large garage with an upstairs apartment that was located about 30 feet away from the burning house.
“We knew we weren’t going to be able to do anything for the house,” said SVFD firefighter Rod Dykes who was the commanding officer at the scene. “It was when we saw the side of the garage start to oxidize that we turned out attention to that building.”
Firefighters pumped about 250 gallons of water on the garage for about 40 minutes to keep it cool in order to prevent it from igniting before they attempted to extinguish the house fire.
“Our main goal in the beginning was to keep the garage from catching before we got additional water and man power to start knocking down the actual fire,” said Perry.
The SVFD had 17 firefighters on the scene, Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department sent four firefighters, Walden Creek Volunteer Fire Department sent six firefighters and Pigeon Forge Fire Department sent two of its firefighters.
In all it took about three-and-a-half hours to extinguish the structure fire and 14,000 gallons of water were used. The departments were able to save the garage which only sustained minor heat and water damage, said Dykes.
Not only did the fire take its toll on the house, but on the firefighters as well.
“It was 98 degrees that day with about 60 percent humidity,” Dykes said. “The weather makes the job ten times harder.”
He added that there were three different crews who would work in 10 minutes shifts with 20 minutes of rehab time to prevent heat exhaustion or dehydration.
“I was the fifth person there,” Perry said. “We show up to the scene already in all of our protective equipment. When we started lugging around all of the water hoses it got pretty exhausting.”
In addition to the crews who worked to extinguish the fire, there were about five support staff members on scene to help rehab the firefighters.
“Our support people do a great job of coming in and bringing us water and keeping us cool with towels,” Dykes said.
While the house was a complete loss, no injuries were sustained by residents or fire personnel.
“We did a good job at keeping everybody safe,” Perry said.
Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire, and Dykes said there is no foul play suspected at this time.
Fire Claims Home
By Brooke Stevenson