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Community rallies around New Tazewell residents affected by apartment fire

NEW TAZEWELL, Tenn. (WATE) - Fire crews battled a large fire in New Tazewell on Thursday night.

Dispatchers say the fire was reported around 10:30 p.m. at 210 Main Street. Photos from the scene show large flames coming from the building.

The back half of the building was used as storage but the front half was used as apartments.

People were inside but everyone evacuated safely. 

"Once I opened the door back up that time, I couldn't see anything. Running down the steps, basically going off of muscle memory," said Riley Thompson, one of the residents. 

Thompson lived on the bottom floor of the complex. He said when he started smelling smoke, he began checking the wall for faulty plugs. 

"There's a plug right beside the door, that's where all the smoke was coming from. I started checking for cords, anything really. Started pulling everything out," said Thompson. 

Thompson said he is grateful for the community support. 

"It's... it's something you honestly you can't believe, honestly. We've had a lot of friends and family and some people we don't even know give us all kinds of clothes. We've been to all kinds of yard sales where people say anything you think you need, take it," said Thompson. 

He says the cause of the fire is unknown, but that it started in the kitchen. 

This is a developing story and we will continue to update it as more details become available.

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