Discarded cigarette believed to have caused apartment fire

Discarded cigarette believed to have caused apartment fire

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Officials say they found the roof of one of the buildings completely engulfed in flames when they arrived at the scene around 3:30 a.m. Officials say they found the roof of one of the buildings completely engulfed in flames when they arrived at the scene around 3:30 a.m.
"When we first got here, there were flames shooting through the roof of the building behind us," said Captain D.J. Corcoran with the Knoxville Fire Department. "When we first got here, there were flames shooting through the roof of the building behind us," said Captain D.J. Corcoran with the Knoxville Fire Department.
"It was bad. The flames were shooting everywhere. The smoke was so thick, it had us coughing and then the trees caught fire," said resident Janie Johnson. "I just couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it. It was scary. Very scary." "It was bad. The flames were shooting everywhere. The smoke was so thick, it had us coughing and then the trees caught fire," said resident Janie Johnson. "I just couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it. It was scary. Very scary."

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A fire that tore through a Knoxville apartment building early Saturday morning, leaving 18 residents displaced, is now being blamed on a cigarette.

The Knoxville Fire Department says the fire started just before 3:30 a.m. at the Huntington Place Apartments in the 500 block of Longview Drive.

Fire crews were able to get the fire out but not before it badly damaged 10 apartments.

When firefighters arrived on scene, the blaze had already burned through several apartments.

"When we first got here, there were flames shooting through the roof of the building behind us," said Captain D.J. Corcoran with the Knoxville Fire Department.

Corcoran says the flames traveled the length of the building, spreading through the attic.

Once the fire was knocked out, firefighters determined a "carelessly discarded cigarette" was the cause.

A resident told fire investigators he woke up to find a couch cushion smoldering, which he thought he put out.

But a short time later, he awoke to find the couch and room in flames and called 911.

The fire left 18 people without a home.

"It was bad. The flames were shooting everywhere. The smoke was so thick, it had us coughing and then the trees caught fire," said resident Janie Johnson. "I just couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it. It was scary. Very scary."

The American Red Cross was on scene Saturday, providing the residents with food and clothing while they surveyed the damage of the place they called home.

"They lost all their stuff. Everything. They lost everything," said Johnson.

Four of the 10 units damaged are considered a total loss.

Corcoran says no one was injured.

"I'm glad everyone was able to get out. I thank God for that," said Johnson.

The owner of Huntington Place Apartments says they are in the process of moving all the residents from the damaged units into other vacant apartments in the same complex.

The owner hopes to have all residents into their new apartments within the next few days.

In the meantime, the American Red Cross is assisting them with temporary housing in area hotels.

KFD officials say 11 fire units and 35 firefighters responded to the two alarm fire.

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