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KFD puts out small fire at abandoned building, saying people trying to stay warm started it

The Knoxville Fire Department responded to a report of a building fire at 200 E. Blount Ave. at approximately 2:35 a.m.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No one is hurt after a vacant building caught fire early Wednesday morning in downtown Knoxville. 

The Knoxville Fire Department responded to a report of a building fire at 200 E. Blount Ave. at approximately 2:35 a.m.

When crews arrived, they found moderate smoke coming from the fifth and sixth floor of a vacant building that is listed for sale, according to KFD.

Crews searched for the source of the smoke for several minutes before locating a small fire in one of the rooms on the fifth floor, KFD said. 

Once the fire was extinguished, it took several minutes to get the smoke removed from the building which had traveled to multiple floors, according to KFD.

According to KFD, it appeared the fire was started by people trying to warm themselves in the cold. The department said they found about 40 people inside the abandoned building but said the fire did not cause any major damage.

"With structures like this where it's currently unoccupied, we do see this from time to time where folks will illegally gain access into these structures and use it because they don't have anywhere else to go. And they build small fires in them to keep themselves warm," KFD Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks said.