(WBIR-Sevier County) A lightning strike hit near a liquid oxygen tank about a quarter of a mile from Douglas Dam in Sevier County Wednesday night.
TVA spokesperson, Travis Brickey, said the fire occurred on the oxygen tanks' lines. He said the tanks are used to increase oxygen levels in the water for quality purposes and due to the damage from the lighting, they will be making some necessary adjustments until it's fixed.
"We are actually spilling water over the spillway gates at Douglas, it's basically a waterfall that's going over," he said. "That puts oxygen in the water. That's what we'll do until we're able to get the system repaired and up and running again."
The fire caused authorities to evacuate everyone within a one-mile radius as a safety precaution.
"Lightning had actually hit the pipeline going from the oxygen tanks to the lake and had actually ruptured the pipe lines and caught fire," said Daniel Willis, with the Northview Fire Department.
"Out of an abundance of caution, the local authorities until the fire was completely out and you had those storage tanks nearby, that's what prompted the evacuation," Brickey added.
TVA said the oxygen tanks feed the reservoir during the summer time and are important when it comes to water quality.
"We run that system in the summertime because it's hot and the oxygen level in the water decreases," said Brickey.
Authorities said all of TVA's safety systems did kick in and it made their job a lot easier once they arrived on scene.
"Their safety systems did kick into place and it lessened what we had to deal with when we responded," Willis said.
TVA said the lightning actually struck a switch box and the chances of it happening again are extremely low.
"It was good aim," Brickey said.
Northview Fire Department says one firefighter did suffer minor injuries.
Both of the oxygen tanks were not damaged, but they cannot pump oxygen into the water because the lines were damaged. TVA does not know when the lines will be repaired.