2 residents escape Northwest Knoxville house fire

(Photo: Knoxville Fire Department)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A house caught on fire in Northwest Knoxville early Tuesday morning.

Dispatchers received a call at 2:30 a.m. Knoxville firefighters arrived at the scene of the fire at 4228 Drifting Drive.

Two residents, a husband and wife, called 911 after waking up to popping sounds coming from their attic and the smell of smoke.

Knoxville Fire Department Captain D.J. Corcoran says flames were coming out of the roof when crews arrived. Crews believe the fire started some time before the couple woke up. There were no fire alarms in the attic.

Investigators believe the fire started outside the home, went up the exterior walls and into the attic.

Corcoan says the couple had warm charcoal briquettes outside in a plastic container. However, investigators do no know if the charcoal caused the incident. The couple is staying with friends and family.

What happens after a house fire?

More than one million fires were reported in 2014, with a fire department responding to a fire every 24 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“Most of us think it’s not going to happen to me, but it’s not the if, it’s the when,” said Lori Marsh with the American Red Cross.

Though the residents in Tuesday’s fire escaped with their lives, Knoxville Fire Department spokesman Capt. D.J. Corcoran said they lost much of what was inside.

“A lot of people are either in shock or in denial, a lot of times, and we saw that this morning,” he said.

While people cannot control a fire itself, they can control the way they respond to one.

“Some of the things you want to do first off is secure your property,” Corcoran said.

He also advised homeowners that following a house fire, they should make sure their property remains boarded up and to make sure their cable is turned off.

For financial assistance and emotional support, there is help out there.

“It does not matter who you are, where you came from, what you have on a normal day,” said Michelle Hankes, with the American Red Cross. “When you lose something, it’s quite an equalizer. You can be caught outside in your bare feet without anything, and it doesn’t matter what you have in your checking account.”

The American Red Cross provides emergency aid and assistance to help people recover from a fire disaster.

“We meet people on their worst day, when worst thing happens to them,” Marsh said, “and to give them a moment of knowing that someone else cares, and watching our volunteers interact and providing not just the immediate  needs they might have but also the immediate support of I’m listening to you.”

Despite the emotional scars and material losses that can result from a house fire, experts said all things can be repaired or replaced, but your life cannot.

“If you’re out and are able to think about it, then you’re ahead of the game,” Corcoran said. “All of the items that you’ve lost can all be replaced. The most important thing is that the people are okay.”

If you have survived a fire and need help, you can call the Red Cross hotline at 1-800-RED-CROSS.

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