Joe Bass has lived a few doors down from where the fire took place for the last 20 years. He said Monday started off like any other day in the neighborhood.
“I was mowing my lawn, taking care of my house,” Bass said. “All of a sudden I hear a bang. It sounded like a backfire. I turn around, all of a sudden the smoke gets a lot bigger. I run inside and get my wife and I’m like, ‘something is going on down the street,’ we run down the street and start calling 911.”
When Bass arrived at his neighbor’s home, he sees it was in flames.
“There was just black smoke everywhere, people yelling and screaming, ‘my babies, my babies, my babies,’ a girl was trying to crawl out the window, I pulled out the window,” said Bass.
After clearing the window area, Bass was able to get the young girl out. As that happened, firefighters began arriving.
“Thank God I pulled the girl out the window,” he said. “You got to go help your neighbors out, I mean we’re all neighbors out here, we’re all South Knoxville.”
Knoxville Fire Department shared that four children were trapped in the basement. All of them were sent to the hospital and one later died. The other three children are said to still be in critical condition.
At the time of the fire, six of the seven residents were home. Four dogs also died in the fire, and the home is a total loss.