A Townsend business was heavily damaged Thursday in a fire that also sent one firefighter to the hospital.
The Townsend and Blount County fire departments battled the blaze, which was first reported as a chimney fire, at the Dancing Bear Lodge & Restaurant.
Flames and heavy smoke were pouring out of the lodge building when firefighters arrived, and firefighters determined they would not be able to save the building.
"We got a metal roof on the building, we got a lot of wood in there. It's dangerous for firefighters to go in, so were controlling it for right now. It looks like its out of control right now, but what were trying to do is control, to protect the surrounding structures to make sure we don't get a wild land fire," said Townsend Volunteer Fire Department Chief Don Stallions.
According to a statement from the Dancing Bear Lodge & Restaurant, the main lodge suffered extensive damage and will require rebuilding, which they plan to begin immediately.
One firefighter suffered smoke inhalation, but no workers or guests were injured.
"Scott, our lodging manager, found the fire, evacuated our team and we had one guest in the lodge, they weren't here at the time. Made sure they weren't in the room and we got everyone else away from the lodge," said Matt Alexander, the lodge's managing partner.
He went on to say the fire would be a blow to the community.
"Well, obviously it's a big loss," Alexander said. "It's a big loss for our team, big loss for our guests."
Dinner reservations at the restaurant are canceled until further notice. Guests with hotel reservations can call 865-448-6000. Workers plan to reach out to each booked guest to discuss their reservation. The cabins on the property were not damaged,and will remain open.
The fire burned throughout the evening. A large plume of smoke attracted residents from all over Blount County. They told WBIR 10News the lodge is a popular place among locals and tourists alike.
"It was a nice place to go and have dinner," said Townsend resident Judy Lincaster. "A lot of people celebrated special occasions at the restaurant and it was just a beautiful setting up there."
Heavy smoke is pouring into the skies above Townsend Thursday afternoon, while firefighters battle a blaze at the Dancing Bear Lodge.
The Townsend Fire Department was called to a chimney fire at the lodge, located at 137 Apple Valley Way around 12:45. The Blount County Fire Department was called in to assist, and they've requested additional manpower.
Firefighters have not confirmed what structure is on fire, but it appears to be the large lodge building, which does contain guest rooms, according to the Dancing Bear Lodge's website. There are several buildings on the property, including the lodge building and rental cabins.
There is no official word yet on whether there are any injuries.
10News has a crew on the scene and will bring you additional information as we receive it.