Firefighters battle two South Knoxville fires two blocks apart

Firefighters battle two South Knoxville fires two blocks apart

Posted:
The first fire was reported at 2:40 a.m. at 2628 Peachtree Street. (source: Knoxville Fire Dept.) The first fire was reported at 2:40 a.m. at 2628 Peachtree Street. (source: Knoxville Fire Dept.)
The Peachtree house after the fire was put out. The Peachtree house after the fire was put out.
The Belvedere house. The Belvedere house.
Firefighters were called about three hours after the first fire to a second one at 2604 Belvedere Ave. SE. Firefighters were called about three hours after the first fire to a second one at 2604 Belvedere Ave. SE.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Within hours of putting out a fire in an unoccupied house in South Knoxville, firefighters were called to the same neighborhood to put out another fire.

The first fire was reported at 2:40 a.m. at 2628 Peachtree Street.

It took firefighters about 30 minutes to put out the fire. The home was destroyed.

About three hours later firefighters were called to 2604 Belvedere Ave. SE, where they reported seeing flames shooting through the roof when they arrived. That home was also gutted.

Neighbors tell 6 News they thought the home had been unoccupied for about a month.

No injuries were reported.

Warren Maclin, who had rented out the home on Belvedere Avenue for 20 years, received a call Tuesday morning that his rental house was on fire.

"Just awful you know. I got shaken, scared I guess," said Maclin.

Knoxville Fire Department spokesman D.J. Corcoran says the two fires starting just hours apart in the same neighborhood are suspicious. He says there could be many causes from electrical issues to arson.

"The homeless population here in Knoxville has increased and you'll see the vagrants, they are opportunists and they will find a structure that's empty, has a 'for sale' sign and they'll break into those and start a fire to stay warm," said Corcoran.

Corcoran says people need to keep an eye out for suspicious activity near vacant homes in their community. This could prevent someone from breaking in and starting a fire.

But with temperatures dropping, the president of Knox Area Rescue Ministries, Burt Rosen, wants to remind those in need that KARM shelters are always open. KARM has space for about 400 people. When the temperatures drop below freezing KARM puts out a white flag warning.

"One it tells them that there's space for them to get out of the elements. The second, it serves as a warning letting people know temperatures are dangerously cold and it's better for you to be inside then outside," said Rosen.

It could be a couple weeks before the cause of Maclin's rental house fire is determined. He hopes to one day repair the home.

"Maybe I can fix it if I can get insurance on it, if they'll fix it," said Maclin.

If you have any information on the fires in South Knoxville, call arson investigators at 865-637-1386.

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