Jellico motel destroyed by fire days after reopening

Local News

JELLICO, Tenn. (WATE) – A Jellico motel was destroyed after a large fire early Wednesday morning.

Fire crews were called to Parkway Inn just after 10 p.m. Tuesday. Officials said the motel had been closed for remodeling and had just reopened a few days ago.

According to management, three people were staying at the motel, but all were able to get out safely and find another place to stay.

The manager said they had just remodeled 14 rooms.

No injuries have been reported.

“We got called out on this to assist Jellico and when we got here there was probably two rooms engulfed,” Jellico Fire & Rescue’s Mitchell Long said, “And it just contained inside and there’s not a whole you can do with it.

“It stayed in the attic and it just basically just destroyed the whole building from one end to the other.”

Firefighters worked into the early morning hours to keep the fire from spreading to nearby homes.

Autumn Creekmore, a resident who lives in a home behind the motel, said it’s been there for as long as she could remember.

“I used to sneak and jump in the pool when the last people owned it,” Creekmore said.

Most of her family lives or lived on that same property directly behind the motel.

When she heard it caught fire, she freaked out.

“I was like, ‘My dog!’ And that’s all I could worry about, because my dog was chained to that tree right there behind me. And I was just a nervous wreck,” Creekmore said.

Creekmore said she had a hard time getting home due to the numerous first responders blocking the way and working hard to contain the fire.

She was extremely grateful for their efforts though.

Firefighters were in front of her home, spraying water down on all sides of the motel so they would be safe.

Creekmore said her grandmother’s house was protected from the fire only by a little retaining fence. Her aunt’s house was only a tree line away from the flames.

“They made sure to keep it away from our houses and especially like my Nam’s and by Aunt B’s house, because they’re not here anymore,” Creekmore said.

Both recently passed, so their homes and what was inside was all she had left to remember them.

She said firefighters were there spraying water for hours.

After knowing her family and dog were safe, Creekmore said she thought about all the hard work the new owner and employees put into the motel to get it up and running again.

“Yesterday, before I left for work, they were literally carrying out old TVs of the motel. So they literally work all the time and they were working so hard, and now it’s, like all their hard work’s just burnt,” Creekmore said.

The Parkway Inn was to be one of two lodgings in Jellico. The motel was supposed to help bring in more visitors.

“They were trying their best and working really, really hard to get it back to livable conditions where people could come and stay in it. And we’ve got these mountains and side-by-sides love to ride them. So, they were trying to do their best to get the motel up for, and be kind of cheap, for the side-by-sides and the four-wheelers and stuff like that. And now it’s gone,” Creekmore said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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