Knoxville firefighters remember 2007 fire at McClung Warehouse

Knoxville firefighters remember February 2007 fire at McClung Warehouse

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"That a steel door had locked in place. I can remember seeing the tip of that door turn red and what I realized then was that there was nothing else we could do there,"  Master Firefighter Tommy Chaffin said. "That a steel door had locked in place. I can remember seeing the tip of that door turn red and what I realized then was that there was nothing else we could do there," Master Firefighter Tommy Chaffin said.
"We had fires all over the city. There were embers flying everywhere and it set most of the buildings downtown and in the old city rooftops on fire," said Captain Teddy Dyer. "We had fires all over the city. There were embers flying everywhere and it set most of the buildings downtown and in the old city rooftops on fire," said Captain Teddy Dyer.
"You just pick yourself up and keep going and try to learn from the past," added Captain Hurst. "You just pick yourself up and keep going and try to learn from the past," added Captain Hurst.
Demolition at the McClung Warehouses will begin Sunday. Demolition at the McClung Warehouses will begin Sunday.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - This Friday marked the seven-year anniversary of the first fire at the McClung Warehouses. We caught up with firefighters who remember how quickly flames consumed the buildings and how it was also a learning experience.

On February 7th, 2007 red and orange flames gutted the McClung Warehouses. The memory of trying to save three trapped firefighters is forever burned into Master Firefighter Tommy Chaffin's mind.

"That a steel door had locked in place. I can remember seeing the tip of that door turn red and what I realized then was that there was nothing else we could do there," Chaffin said. 

Those trapped firefighters made it out alive, though that night was a challenge.

"We had fires all over the city. There were embers flying everywhere and it set most of the buildings downtown and in the old city rooftops on fire," said Captain Teddy Dyer.

That fire in 2007 turned out to be a learning experience, because this past Saturday a devastating fire consumed the McClung Warehouses again. Firefighters saying this time, they had a better set up and plan of attack.

"We were still intense, we were still aggressively fighting the fire, but it was from a defensive posture," said Captain Dennis Hurst.

While the first fire isn't something they think about every day, firefighters say it's something they'll always carry with them.

"You just pick yourself up and keep going and try to learn from the past," added Captain Hurst.

Demolition at the McClung Warehouses will begin Sunday. Earlier in the week, engineers determined the remaining building was too damaged to save.

As for starting the work on Sunday rather than Saturday, a city spokesperson says it's to avoid disrupting a nearby wedding party that was already scheduled.

Demolition will take two to four days and the cleanup will last five to six weeks. The project will cost $127,000.

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