MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (SOURCE: WVLT) -- The
Morristown Police Department, Hamblen County Sheriff's Office,
Morristown Fire Department, and four volunteer fire department units
responded to a brush fire Wednesday night that was called in "about the
size of a football field," according to the Morristown Police
As of about 2:30 Thursday morning, police said the flames were 75
percent contained. First responders were still on scene dealing with hot
spots and live embers, hoping winds remained calm. Reporter David Ball
said the fire had burned about 25 acres.
On Thursday afternoon, an official with
the Tennessee Division of Forestry confirmed that the fire had been
extinguished, with only smoke spots remaining.
The police department said the fire started at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday near Celeste Ave. and Ridgemont Dr.
About a dozen homes were evacuated as a precaution. Approximately 19
people who were evacuated stayed at a shelter set up by the Red Cross at
Manley Baptist Church. Fire command assessed the situation at daylight
and evaluated the area before allowing residents to return to their
homes at around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.
Officials said winds were making the fire more difficult to fight
"It was a challenge, the wind was the biggest challenge," Forestry
Technician Rick Martin told local news outlets Thursday. "It was pushing
it out, our main focus was anyone's home not getting burnt."
Martin worked the Sevier County wildfires in November 2016, and he said
it's impossible to shake those memories—he said they go with him in
every fire, especially those near homes.
Police say no structures were damaged. One volunteer firefighter
received injuries that were not life threatening.
Darlene Noe said she was getting right back to work Thursday at Manley
Baptist Church after spending the night there and opening the doors to
her neighbors in need. She told local news outlets she thought she
wouldn't wake up Thursday morning.
"We went back to the driveway knowing we were trapped," she said. "I
called one of my daughters and called to tell her bye, how much I loved
her, and I said, 'We are trapped and probably not going to get out.'"
A few minutes after that call, Noe said a police officer found her and
helped her find a way out of the neighborhood. She said the whole
experience put the people of Gatlinburg on her mine.
"It was scary trying to go down the mountain, and what went through my
mind was the people in Gatlinburg and what they went through, cinders
were floating in the air, you couldn't see because of the smoke, and
what went through my mind was my children and am I gonna see them
again?" she said.
The Hamblen County Sheriff's Office asked that no one venture up the
roads into the Crockett's Ridge Subdivision Wednesday, saying narrow and
winding rears needed to stay clear for emergency and firefighting
vehicles to maneuver through.