Pet turtles saved from fire that destroyed Sevier Co. family's h

Pet turtles saved from fire that destroyed Sevier Co. family's home, business

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Fire crews say the home was fully engulfed when they arrived on scene. Fire crews say the home was fully engulfed when they arrived on scene.
The family's two pet turtles made it out alive. The family's two pet turtles made it out alive.
"By that time, it was, it was gone," said James Stone of Sevierville, whose son owns the home. "It's just been a real sad day for us." "By that time, it was, it was gone," said James Stone of Sevierville, whose son owns the home. "It's just been a real sad day for us."

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - A Sevier County family has to start completely over, after their home and business burned down in a fire early Saturday morning.

The Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department says the fire broke out shortly before 7 a.m. in the 2900 block of Old Newport Highway in Sevierville.

While fire crews say the home, which also housed the family business, is a total loss, the family's pets were saved thanks to some quick thinking.

Fire crews say the home was fully engulfed when they arrived on scene.

It took them nearly four hours to put the fire out.

The homeowners are on vacation.

Relatives, who live just down the street, say it's a devastating loss.

"By that time, it was, it was gone," said James Stone of Sevierville, whose son owns the home. "It's just been a real sad day for us."

They say this family hasn't just lost the place they've called home for the last 20 years, but also their livelihood as well.

They ran a restaurant oven hood cleaning and fire extinguishing school out of it called Fireman Fire Protection, LLC.

With the value of the house combined with the fire training equipment they had in the business side of the structure, family members estimate at least $1 million in damages.

"He had a really nice setup and it's just a tragic loss for him," said Stone.

Even though all of their possessions were destroyed, there's a small silver lining.

The family's two pet turtles made it out alive.

As crews battled the blaze, a family friend noticed the turtles in a pen outside just a few feet from the burning home.

"He went in there and got them so he actually saved them," said Stone.

And it wasn't a moment too soon.

The turtles weren't looking so good.

The fire had dropped embers onto their shells.

"It was frothing at the mouth and really, really hot," said Captain Stephanie Specht of the Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department.

Specht started giving Toby and Lucy oxygen immediately.

"We just rested it on the turtle like that and it just blew oxygen onto him. 20 minutes later, it was opening its eyes and there was no more froth. It was looking around and sticking it's head out," said Specht.

So while the homeowners have a long way to go in building back their home, at least they'll have every member of the family with them along the way.

"It's just putting one foot in front of the other and going on with it," said Stone.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Family members tell 6 News the turtles will be going to the vet to get a full check up to make sure they're okay.

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