Firefighters battle blaze on Bluff Mountain, saving homes, lives

Firefighters battle blaze on Bluff Mountain, saving homes, lives


6 News Anchor/Reporter

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - Dozens of people on Bluff Mountain in Sevier County are glad to be back in their homes after a massive brush fire forced them to evacuate Saturday night.

The fire broke out around 7:30 p.m.

Sevier County Sheriff's officers went door-to-door to evacuate as many people as possible, but the fire was fast-moving and spread so quickly. Some families were not able to get out and were trapped in their homes.

One family said they are lucky to be alive, and owe it all to the firefighters who saved them and their home.

"Yea, we're really lucky," said Jeff Salansky of Sevierville.

Salansky and his wife moved into their cabin on Bluff Mountain only three months ago.

Saturday night, their worst fear came to life.

"Looked out and saw some flames, and then luckily about the same time we already saw the lights of fire trucks already up here," said Salansky.

They were told to evacuate, but as they got their belongings together, firefighters learned their only way out, a road down the mountain, was covered in smoke and flames.

"To be standing on your porch and seeing it. Yea, you don't want to see it. You don't want it that close," said Salansky.

The closer the fire got, the more worried the Salansky's became.

"We thought the worst could happen. Everything could be gone."

The firefighters battled the flames as they inched toward the house, even spraying water right from the Salansky's front porch to keep the fire back.

The work of the more than 50 firefighters on scene paid off.

Twenty acres burned on Bluff Mountain, but no home or lives were lost, all thanks to the fire crews from units across Sevier County.

"There was fire basically at the edge of these homes and without them there, they certainly would have lost those houses," said Chief Kevin Nunn of the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department.

Fire crews said brush fires are likely this time of year.

"Happens in October, November time frames here in East Tennessee, and happens again March and April," said Nunn.

They said saving lives is always their first priority.

Several Sevier County fire crews worked together to contain the fire, including Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Walden's Creek and Seymour.

Many of them were on scene until nearly 3 a.m. Sunday morning.

The Pigeon Forge Fire Department said the brush fire is under investigation.

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