English Mtn. fire continues in woods; firefighters scale back

10:49 PM, Apr 10, 2012   |    comments
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Update 11:30 pm

Firefighters in Sevier County scaled back their efforts to stop what's left of the fire on English Mountain Tuesday night.

More than 100 firefighters have been working the fire since early Tuesday morning.

Officials do not believe it is currently threatening any buildings, but firefighters are monitoring around 20 homes overnight.

A helicopter that had been dropping water on the fire has stopped for the night.

Update 6:00 pm

The wildfire has now spread into Cocke County. 

Firefighters say there are no significant fires around the homes, but they are staging equipment near them just in case.

As the fire moves away from the homes, the Forestry Division will take the lead on fighting the wildfire.

Update 4:50 pm

The fire at the English Mountain Condominiums has been contained to four buildings that have been destroyed.   Firefighters managed to save the remaining 6 buildings in the complex, which are mostly seasonal rentals.  There were seven people living in the buildings that were destroyed by the fire.  No residents were hurt, but one firefighter was treated and released from a local hospital after a fall.

The wildfire that was sparked by the condo blaze continues to burn out of control.  So far, more than 175 acres has burned, and firefighters expect it to continue to spread northeast, towards Cocke County.  The good news about the direction that the wildfire is spreading is that there are very few homes in the area. 

Firefighters say conditions for fighting the fire continue to get worse, with the winds picking up and humidity dropping. 

Firefighters are focusing their efforts on protecting about 20 homes in the area.  Those homeowners have not been evacuated yet, but if needed, the county will use a reverse 911 system to contact them. 

Update 4:02 p.m.

Firefighters continue to fight the fire at the English Mountain Condominiums and the nearly 175 acres nearby.

Crews are working to save twenty homes near the condos. Fire officials say the next five hours will be crucial.

The National Guard will use a helicopter to come and dump water on the fires.

Update 3:41 p.m.

The fire has destroyed Buildings 1-4 at the English Mountain Condominium Resorts. All residents have been evacuated. Firefighters continue to battle the blaze. Currently, more than 175 acres are also on fire. The Forestry Department is fighting that fire.

Homes near the condo have been evacuated. Also, the English Mountain Recovery Center has been evacuated. Around 50 patients and staff work and stay there.

Red Cross has set-up a shelter at the English Mountain Fire Department at 1564 Wilhite Creek Road in Sevierville.

Numbers are still coming in on how many people were affected. We do know at least six people and their pets lived in Buildings 1 & 2. In total, 48 units were destroyed.

The Red Cross say 175 people who live near the condos have also been evacuated.

Dozens of crews from several agenices from numerous counties continue to fight the fire. All nine fire departments in Sevier County, plus help from Blount and Jefferson Counties.

More than 100 fire fighters have been dispatched to help.

Update 11:30 a.m.

Officials tell 10News that four buildings at the English Mountain Condominium Resort have been destroyed. Each building contains 12 units. Most of those units are part-time rentals, although there are some full-time residents.

Forestry officials are working to contain the fire that has spread into the woods.

A couple of fire trucks sustained some minor damage when the wind shifted the fire toward them, but they are still usable.

The area is serviced by East Sevier County Utility District. Residential customers in the area are currently without water, but firefighters are getting water to fight the fire by using tanker trucks to haul water up the mountain.

Update 9:37 a.m.

As two buildings burn at the English Mountain Condominium Resort, the situation is worsening.

The English Mountain Fire Chief has evacuated nearby homes. In all, six people have been evacuated.

Officials say the wind is making it difficult to fight the fire.  They are calling in fire departments from Jefferson County to aid the already 12 departments on site.

Fire has spread to the woods from one of the 10 condos on site.  Fire crews from the forestry department are battling those flames.

However, firefighters are going through water quickly.  It is too hot to use fire hydrants on the property and is very difficult to get tankers to the scene because of the curvy roads.

One firefighter was injured and taken to a nearby hospital.  His injuries were not serious.

An employee believes the fire started in one of the condos in Building #1.

Update 9:18 a.m.

Firefighters battling a condo fire on a windy mountain in Sevier County have called for reinforcements from other fire departments and the Forestry Department.

The fire has spread to nearby woods.

Emergency vehicles had to be moved because the fire was spreading.

Officials are also concerned they might run out of water.

Previous story

A 10News Crew reports that a firefighter was injured in a condominium fire at the English Mountain Condominiums Tuesday morning.  The firefighter was transported to an area hospital.

Sevier County dispatchers say a call reporting the fire was made just after 7:00 a.m.

Stay with 10News and wbir.com for more on this developing story.

Previous story

The Sevierville Fire Department says several fire crews responded to a fire at English Mountain Condominiums in Sevier County Tuesday morning.

Few details are known at the time of this posting.

10News has a crew en route. 

Stay with 10News and wbir.com for more on this developing story.

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