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Seymour firefighters battle two fires in less than 24 hours

11:23 PM, May 4, 2013   |    comments
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Fire officials are still investigating what sparked two Seymour fires, happening just hours apart.

Firefighters say the first fire broke out around 5:00 p.m. Friday at Seymour Flea Market on Chapman Highway. Seymour Volunteer Firefighter Lt. Evan Underwood said he was on the first responding engine and knew the fire was a big one.

"We were still probably two miles out whenever we first started seeing the smoke. It was very, very dark and a lot of it so we could tell it was going to be good before we got there," Lt. Underwood said.

Volunteer Firefighter Andrew Scruggs also fought the Seymour Flea Market Fire, which was a challenge. Scruggs said, "With the construction and the obstacles, it was hard. And it had a very large layout, as well.

Also among the many firefighters fighting the blaze was Volunteer Firefighter Bryan Cramer, who just completed the academy.

Cramer said, "It was a little intimidating at first, but you calm yourself down and you try to control that adrenaline and then your training kicks in and you know what you need to do and you just get the job done."

Flames and smoke destroyed the 40-year-old building, which took firefighters hours to extinguish. Crews worked until the early morning Saturday containing hot spots.

But no sooner had they put out that fire, another started. This time around 4:30 a.m. Saturday at East Tennessee Wood Products on Sevierville Road. The owner of the business and officials said the fire started on a sawdust hopper. Coincidentally, the fire broke out across the street from Seymour Volunteer Fire Department's Station 4. No structural damage was done, but the owner said the equipment was damaged.

Despite the stress 24 hours, the Seymour volunteer firefighters say its work they enjoy doing.

"You have to be a special person and have a real desire to do this job. Spend seven hours on a fire, come home and think I can relax, and then boom you're out the door again," said Cramer.

Lt. Underwood said, "It's very hard to do, being all volunteer. That's what we love."

Several other agencies helped Seymour Volunteer Fire Department put out both fires.

The Seymour Volunteer Fire Department is always looking for more volunteers and has received a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant, which provides tuition reimbursement for nine live-in firefighters up to $8,000 per year. For more information, call (865) 851-1157.

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