KNOXVILLE (WATE) – An early morning fire left several people without a home early Saturday morning.
The Knoxville Fire Department says it responded to the Spring Meadow apartment complex around 3:30 a.m. to find a building on fire.
Firefighters say that building has eight units, several of which were destroyed.
“I was asleep and I heard somebody beating on my door. Scared me to death. I didn’t know what was going on, so I get up and smell smoke so I immediately just get up and grab my keys and my keys and my phone and get outside,” said Breanna Bryan.
Bryan said when she woke up she saw flames shooting out the roof of building 12.
“They were huge. I honestly thought they were going to get the trees and catch them on fire, but they got it quick enough to where it didn’t,” she said.
Firefighters say they had a rough start getting the flames out because the closest hydrant is about a quarter of a mile away.
“There private hydrants back here, but the water available in those private hydrants is not enough to sufficiently fight a fire the size that we had,” said D.J. Corcoran with the Knoxville Fire Department.
By the time the sun came up Saturday morning half of the building was gone.
People who live there say they are still in shock, but they are just thankful it wasn’t any worse.
“I’m grateful for my neighbors. They all came out, and every one of them were beating on a different door trying to get everybody out,” said Bryan.
Bryan lives on the top level of the side that was not burned down, but she says firefighters tore a hole in the wall to fight the fire and smoke and water damage have made it unliveable.
About 16 people are not without homes.
“I honestly didn’t know what to think and I still don’t,” said Bryan.
Her roommates and their pets all got out okay, along with all their neighbors, and she says now they are just trying to figure out how to move forward.
“Pick up, move on, get a different place and have faith that God has a plan,” she said.
Investigators are still working to determine a cause of the fire.
No injuries were reported.
The Red Cross is assisting the people who lived in that building.
Another building in the same complex burned down in August of 2011.
That fire was believed to have started by someone dropping a cigarette butt in the trash.