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Fire destroys Edgewater home

Rural/Metro firefighters assess damage after knocking down the Edgewater house fire Saturday.- Linda Gildner/farragutpress
A fire that possibly erupted from a motorcycle destroyed a West Knox County home Saturday, Jan. 31.

Rural/Metro Fire Department Capt. Jeff Devlin said, “The homeowner was messing with some gasoline in his motorcycle in the garage and (the homeowner) felt like he heard a pop. Basically, (the homeowner) thinks the fire started there and, it appears, that’s the way it’s going. But, it’s under investigation.”

The Brittany Deanne Lane home off Canton Hollow Road of Mike and Gloria Graves in the Edgewater subdivision was completely lost in the fire.

“The structure itself is going to have to be completely repaired,” Devlin said. “There were items in the basement and certain personal possessions we were able to save, plus the pets. We were able to rescue the cats.”

Devlin said firefighters from five stations responded to the 1:35 p.m. fire.

“The first unit was on the scene in six and a half minutes,” he said. “The second was thirty seconds behind. … The fire was under control by 2 p.m.”

Neighbors of the Graves told the farragutpress that firefighters were thwarted in their efforts by a malfunctioning fire hydrant at the address.

“That’s incorrect, not true,” Devlin said. “Basically, First Utility District of Knox County and Rural/Metro have an excellent relationship. Both of us work very hard to keep tabs on all the fire hydrants, thousands of them throughout Knox County. Specifically, here in the west end of town, we maintain fire hydrants twice a year and report back to the utility district the ones that are out of service, broken, dry or whatever you want to call it.

“The hydrant that was closest to that specific condo was dry. It was also painted black to indicate it was not working. All the crews were well aware that that hydrant was not in working order and we never ever attempted to even get any water out of it or lay any hose from it. We rapidly deployed from a hydrant that was within a thousand feet, which is within the compliment of hose we carry on our engine companies. Water supply was never, ever an issue at all.”

Jacki Cash, president of the Edgewater Subdivision Homeowners Association, said when she arrived on the scene several minutes after the blaze began residents of the subdivision told her that the first engine company on the scene tried to hook to the dry hydrant.

“Once they got there,” Cash said later in a telephone interview, “they did a wonderful job. They were just wonderful. They probably didn’t lose but seconds if they did” try to hook to the hydrant.

Devlin added that firefighters were able to contain the fire to the first unit only and there was no other property damage except for some damage to an adjoining unit.

“The very last unit there was no indication of whether anyone was home or not,” Devlin said. “Some people indicated to us there was the possibility that someone was home. A side glass we did break out to gain entry into that unit and check it to make sure nobody was home.”

Devlin said there were no injuries to residents or firefighters, but one family cat did suffer injury.

“Pets weren’t killed,” he said. “One of the cats that we did rescue did go to the vet with some burns, but didn’t appear to be, now I’ve seen some cats badly burned, and that cat seemed to be much better off than some other cats that lived. As of when we left, the cats were fine.”

Cash said she wasn’t aware of the status of the fire hydrant closest to the Graves’ home. She indicated that she would check its status and contact Ralph McCarter at First Utility District to review the fire hydrant procedures.

Devlin said crews from Station 11 on Campbell Station Road, Station 10 on Parkside Drive, Station 14 on Watt Road, Station 16 on Bluegrass Road and Station 15 in the Cedar Bluff area responded to the call.

“We had five trucks and thirty firefighters,” he said.

Devlin responded to a report from observers at the scene that Rural/Metro was slow in responding to the fire.

“When you’re standing outside and you’re watching something on fire, your perception of time is completely skewed,” he said. “Plus, we also feel like we did not get the phone call right away from 911. From the time 911 was alerted till when we got on the scene was six and one-half minutes, seven minutes. It’s very common for people to have misperception to time during a crisis.”

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