Rain slows wildfire creeping towards homes in Walland

BLOUNT COUNTY - Rain brought temporary relief to growing danger as the East Millers Cove fire crept closer to homes in Walland. 

"We watched it rage up that mountain at incredible speed," said Paul Elfstrom, a homeowner living off of Blair Loop. 

"It's been really a nightmare for a lot of people." 

When fire crews were called to another area, he and his neighbors took action. 

"There were six or seven houses in this area that were all in the same situation," he said. 

"We manned a garden hose all night to keep it from burning more." 

As the fire crept closer, Elfstrom says it forced his family to place safety over comfort. 

"We were in a panic when it was raging and it wasn't far off. Maybe 100 yards. I evacuated my family because we just didn't know," he said. 

"If it weren't for the actions of a few individuals that stayed out all night and manned the hoses, I would have lost my home." 

With the fire just a few hundred feet from his home Saturday morning, an hour-long downpour brought the relief Elfstrom and his neighbors needed at the perfect time. 

"I've never been so glad to see rain in my life. Thank God for the rain and the direction of the wind. That saved a lot of homes," he said.  

(© 2016 WBIR)


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