Lightning strikes house; firefighter criticizes lack of hydrants

Lightning strikes house; firefighter criticizes lack of hydrants

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"It's inexcusable to allow these kinds of homes to be built this new without fire hydrants," said Devlin. "It's inexcusable to allow these kinds of homes to be built this new without fire hydrants," said Devlin.
Lightning apparently struck a Corryton home and started a fire on Wednesday night, according to the Rural-Metro Fire Department. Lightning apparently struck a Corryton home and started a fire on Wednesday night, according to the Rural-Metro Fire Department.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

CORRYTON (WATE) – Lightning struck a Corryton home Wednesday night and started a fire. 

Jeff Devlin, battalion chief for Rural/Metro Fire Department, said no one was in the Sam Bob Lane home when the house was hit by lightning. 

A neighbor saw the fire and reported it. 

When firefighters arrived, they realized there are no fire hydrants in the neighborhood. 

"It's inexcusable to allow these kinds of homes to be built this new without fire hydrants," said Devlin.  

According to Devlin, the fire could have been a lot worse. 

"Someone saw it very quickly and we were close by," said Devlin. 

A fire truck had enough water to put out the fire without fire hydrants. 

Devlin said the damage to the house is repairable. 

Neighbors upset by lack of hydrants

Most homeowners insurance requires a fire hydrant within 1,000 feet of a home or the owner is charged a lot more.

Knox County requires hydrants no more than 600 feet apart, but that's only in subdivisions approved after May 2007.

Angie Green, a ten year resident of the Mountain Gate subdivision, was the one to call 9-1-1 after her neighbor's house caught fire. She's concerned about lack of hydrants.

"We knew it when we moved in. You can count the fire hydrants when you drive down the road," she said.

The nearest one is just over 500 feet away, but firefighters would have to park a truck there and run their hose through several lawns, a difficult task.

The other is out on Corryton Road, more than 2,000 feet away.  

"We need a fire hydrant here. That's reasonable to expect," Green said.

It's a problem other neighborhoods in the county have faced before.

"It was probably because of those issues that in 2007 those codes were adopted by the county," said Colin Cumesty with the Knox County Fire Prevention Bureau.

Cumesty said more fire hydrants in rural areas can save lives.

"You can always request and have one installed," he said.

The Corryton Luttrell Blaine Utility District said if a neighborhood pays the $1,200 to $1,500 cost, they will install the hydrant for free.

"In my opinion, it ought to be retrofitted with hydrants as soon as possible," said Battalion Chief Jeff Devlin with Rural/Metro.

The subdivision developer said no one suggested he should put in a fire hydrant when he started selling the lots 15 years ago. He thought the one at the elementary school was close enough.

The owners of the home that caught fire didn't want to go on camera, but said they will talk to their neighbors about pitching in to install a hydrant on their street.

KUB told 6 News that the city has determined that hydrants should be placed about 500 feet apart.

KUB says in the county, it's up to the county fire marshal to set placement criteria.

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