Knoxville Fire Department, downtown loft talk about fire safety after London fire

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – At least a dozen people are dead after a high rise apartment fire in London.

Knoxville Fire Department Capt. DJ Corcoran says more than three floors is considered a high rise and there are multiple high rises in downtown Knoxville.

“If you’re in a high rise unit and the smoke alarm goes off, the fire alarm goes off, get out,” said Capt. Corcoran.

Related story: Death toll rises to 12 in London apartment building inferno

Leigh Burch with Sterchi Lofts says his high rise complex has some of the latest technology when it comes to fire alarms by allowing staff to speak to tenants over the system.

“Saying ‘Hey this is a real fire’, or ‘You need to leave the building right now’, you have that capability with this system,” said Burch.

Most places, including Sterchi, have signs telling people to use the stairs in the case of fire. Corcoran says if the stairs are blocked, the best thing to do is go back to the unit.

“That’s going to buy you some time,” said Corcoran. “Put some wet towels around your door where you’re not getting smoke into your unit.”

Many high rise buildings have brick or cinder block between units that will keep the fire from spreading between the units. Burch says Sterchi has only had minor fires confined to one unit.

“We had one small fire where one of the tenants was cooking with a lot grease and everything and it got out of control but the building got evacuated without a hitch,” said Burch.

Kurtis Kyle lives on the eighth floor of Sterchi and says he doesn’t worry about getting caught in an apartment fire.

“I mean with the fire station being kind of close and being on campus just right across the street, I feel like they have enough time to respond and get people down if they needed to be,” said Kyle.

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