Arson is suspected in a blaze that burned five homes Monday morning in Sevierville. Sixty firefighters from six agencies converged on Apple Ridge Way off Ridge Road to battle the growing flames. Bob Stahlke, spokesman for the city of Sevierville, said authorities were first alerted at 3:45 a.m. to a brush fire on Apple Ridge Way.
"When the first unit arrived, instead of a brush fire, they found a single-family residence fully engulfed," Stahlke said.
Firefighters called for additional help and then realized the house next door also was on fire.
"And subsequently they saw three more right down a row were on fire," Stahlke said.
Firefighters extinguished the last hot spots at the scene about 6:30 a.m., Stahlke said. None of the firefighters were injured.
"Right now, we suspect arson," Stahlke said.
None of the single-story homes with about 1,200-square feet was occupied. Stahlke said the wood homes were not furnished, so the houses weren't available for rent.
Stahlke said the Sevierville Fire Department and Police Department will investigate the fires.
"All the fires are too hot to poke around in, yet," he said.
While the first home was reduced to smoldering timbers, Stahlke said the other houses sustained much less damage.
No other nearby homes had to be evacuated during the fire fighting.
Stahlke said the fire could have been worse because of the steep, wooded terrain nearby.
"If all five had gone up, even though it's wet, the hillside could have gone up in flames," he said.
More details as they develop online and in Tuesday's News Sentinel.
Written by Knoxville News-Sentinel