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Fires destroy homes, vacant building

A fire destroyed the home on Jim Jones Road on Monday, Oct. 22. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

Fire departments from several counties responded to a fire in the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 21, at 5949 Unicoi Drive. When they arrived on scene they found the old Wiseman’s Feed and Seed building, which had been abandoned for some time, fully engulfed.

The crews battled the fire for more than six hours due to the windy conditions. One Carter County firefighter sustained minor injuries fighting the blaze.

“He’s doing well, he’s just bruised and sprained,” Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Wes Hensley told The Erwin Record.

According to the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office Communication Director Kevin Walters, the fire is currently under investigation, therefore details are limited. There was no power to the building, so the fire more than likely wasn’t electrical.

“We haven’t had electricity in there for more than two years,” according to building owner Alyssa Hodge.

The fire could’ve been more devastating considering how close it was to a residential building, as well as Wiseman’s Clothing and Shoes.

“We are lucky that it didn’t reach Wiseman’s or our apartments up the hill, it could’ve been a lot worse,” Hodge said.

All of the firefighters that responded were able to save the surrounding buildings and for that Hodge was thankful.

“They did a great job, I just want to thank the firefighters, especially the one that was injured,” Hodge told The Erwin Record.

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Early on Monday, Oct. 22, there was a fire at a residence on 3206 Unicoi Drive, Lot 6.

There were children involved in that fire, but no serious injuries reported. Sgt. Jacob Marshall and Deputy Cody Arnold with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department reportedly arrived to see the front porch was fully engulfed.

All four people, two adults and two children, were discovered safe outside of the fire. The sheriff’s department confirmed there were no one else in the home. The house was a total loss. “Cody Arnold and Jacob Marshall did a great job for us,” Unicoi County Investigator Harmon Duncan told The Erwin Record.

If you are interested in donating clothing to those affected by the fire the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Dispatch is accepting clothing at Family Ministries Resources Center 1119 N. Main Ave. in Erwin. The sizes for the two adults are for female 3x-4x and female 14-16 and the sizes for the two children are 6-9 months for a 5-month-old child and size 3 for a 2 and half-year-old child. A Gofundme page is being set up for financial donations.

According to Walters, this fire is currently under investigation as a possible arson case. If you have any information please contact the State Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. The State Arson Hotline is open 24 hours a day and you may remain anonymous when providing information.

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Also on Monday, around 10:30 a.m. firefighters responded to a fire at 524 Glenn Effler Road that destroyed a two-level house. No serious injuries were reported, but one firefighter needed medical attention for abrasions to his hands. Unfortunately, a family pet perished in the fire. Initial reports suggest this could have been a wiring issue.

Multiple firefighting units from around the area were on the scene with UVFD fighting the fire. The house was deemed a total loss.