30 people displaced in Sevierville apartment complex fire


Video courtesy of Brandon Jenkins:

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Nearly 30 people are having to find new homes, with some waiting to see if anything survived the fire and water.

As of Friday evening, the building was taped off, as the it was too damaged following a fire that began in the afternoon.

Authorities responded to a fire at the Riverpark Apartments just off of Old Knoxville Highway Friday afternoon. A Sevierville spokesperson said there are no injuries and all residents had been evacuated.

“I was home in the kitchen and I just heard a really loud knocking on the door and people were screaming [to] get out of the complex it was on fire. And so when I opened the door, I saw firefighters and I saw the unit was full of smoke,” said resident Yuliya Belkot.

Flames were blazing through the roof of the three-story building.

More than 50 firefighters battled the flames, rotating out so that none of them overheated.

Crews from Sevierville, Seymour, Pigeon Forge, Walden’s Creek and Sevier County, to name a few, came to aid in the fight.

Everyone was able to evacuate safely, but many are not sure what’s in store for their future.

“It’s a scary feeling when you stand here and you understand you have is right here. And there is no place you can go,” Belkot said.

Twenty-three units of the building were rented out – none of those tenants are able to go back home.

“I’m glad we’re not home. My kids are at school. I got to tell them, um can’t stay home for a couple of days. I know it’s just things but I’m a single mom so I’ve worked for it,” said another resident.

The residents say they are also thankful that firefighters got to the scene quickly and thankful the Red Cross was helping them find a place to stay and replace some items.

As of Friday evening, 14 people had asked for help from the Red Cross, but volunteers believe they will have more.

Reports of the apartment complex fire in Sevierville began just after noon Friday. Before crews were called about the fire, a Sevier County Rescue Squad team happened to be driving near the apartments and saw the smoke and was quickly the first unit to arrive at the scene.

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