KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Investigators discovered the cause of a fire that left a home a total loss and a dog dead on Sunday, according to the Knoxville Fore Department.
KFD Spokesperson and Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks said investigators determined the fire was caused by a bathroom wall heater that was left on, and there were “combustible materials” close to the heater that were involved in the fire.
“Every year at the start of cold weather we see an increase in fires caused by heaters. KFD would like to remind everyone to keep anything that will burn at least 3 feet away from any heating appliances such as space heaters and wall heaters. Many of these heaters do not have on-off switches. They have thermostats with a range of low to high. If the temperature drops low enough in the house, the heater will turn on whether you know it or not.” Wilbanks said.
Sunday afternoon, Wilbanks said the call reporting smoke coming from a house near McClung Avenue for the fire came in at 12:36 p.m.
As firefighters made their way to the area, dispatch updated them that the smoke was coming from a home on the 1800 block of Beech Street. When crews arrived, they found smoke coming from the attic of the home, Wilbanks said.
Crews attempted to quickly attack the flames but were not able to make a rapid entry into the home because of the home’s condition. Crews eventually gained access to the home, and the fire was determined to be out shortly after 1 p.m.
No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. Wilbanks initially said a dog was missing, however, he later confirmed that the dog was found dead inside the residence.
The fire was investigated by Knoxville Fire investigators. Wilbanks said the home did not have working smoke alarms.