UPDATE: CORRYTON, Tenn. (WATE) – The victim of a fatal house fire in Corryton on September 21 has been identified as 40-year-old Jeremy Lynn Riggs.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office Fire Investigation Unit is the leading the investigation.
PREVIOUS: CORRYTON, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a deadly house fire in Corryton.
The Knox County Rural Metro Fire Department responded to Calgary Drive just before 11 p.m. Sunday.
When crews arrived they found heavy fire from the front of the house and flames coming through the roof.
One person in the home was killed. It was determined the victim was overcome by the heat and smoke. A second person who lived in the home was able to escape. One dog was saved and another was not accounted for at the time of the release.
Sandra Campbell, a next door neighbor, said she could feel the heat coming through her house around 11 p.m.
She said she went outside to see why she could feel heat and saw flames showing through the roof.
“My neighbor’s house is just engorged in flames. I mean, literally just the whole house,” Campbell said.
She said she then saw first responders race down the road.
When she looked back at the house, she saw her neighbor outside.
“My neighbor, who made it out alive, just falls to the floor. And I went out there to pick her up off the ground and brought her onto my rocking chairs. And we had no clue what was going on,” Campbell said.
Campbell said at that point her neighbor was hysterical about her partner. He was still inside.
“She tried to lift him, but from what we’ve been told it was all barricaded. I guess the roofing fell down and that’s why the firefighters couldn’t even get in there to even go save him because it was barricaded,” Campbell said.
At that point, Campbell said, she could hear loud pops from the fire and was worried her home might catch on fire too because it was so close.
Jeff Bagwell, spokesperson for Rural Metro, said crews went in several times trying to find the person inside the home.
“We were still actively searching for this person. Hoping and praying that we could find him and be able to save him. We could not,” Bagwell said.
He said the surviving partner told firefighters to check the bedroom, but they couldn’t find him in there.
They eventually found him, but he was not in the bedroom.
However, exactly what happened that night is still under investigation.
Campbell said one dog had survived and she watched him for most of the day so the family had one less thing to worry about.
She said she wants to know what caused the fire and why the home was engulfed in flames so quickly.
She also said she was keeping the family in her prayers.
The family of the surviving victim has set up a a donation account to help with her losses.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office major crimes unit and fire arson investigators are investigating.
Bagwell said with the cooler weather coming in, now is the time to make sure your home is fire-safe.
He said clean your chimneys, have your HVAC unit cleaned and buy space heaters with safety features, such as an automatic turn off if it falls over.
Lastly, he said have an escape plan in place in case of a fire.
“I promise you, if you take your house that you’ve lived in for 50 years, turn out all the lights. Make it pitch black. Add the noise, and the smell, and the color of fire, and the smoke that fills the room all the way down to the floor. And then you think you’re going to try to find your way out, you won’t be able to get out unless your body and your mind is trained,” Bagwell said.
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