A desk clerk at a local hotel may have saved lives early this morning by calling 911 and rousing residents to alert them to fire that destroyed a garage structure and may have severely injured one person.
Pigeon Forge and Sevierville fire departments responded to a structure fire just off the Parkway of a detached garage at 1922 S. Center Street in Pigeon Forge at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.
Benji Wells, a desk clerk on duty at the Mountain Melodies Inn, heard a loud bang and first spotted the blaze at a nearby residence. He called 911, then went to the home nearest the fire and banged on the back door, waking the occupants and alerting them to the danger.
“I ran over there as fast as I could and banked on the back door, and a woman and child came out,” Wells said. “The woman told me that if anyone was back there, they weren’t supposed to be.”
Local fire departments were notified at 2:50 a.m. and personnel from the Sevierville Fire Department Station 2 on Collier Drive were first on the scene, arriving one minute before the Pigeon Forge Fire Department dispatched from the Pine Mountain Road station. Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson said that response is part of an automatic aid agreement between the departments in which both are dispatched automatically to ensure the fastest response time.
Responders also found an unidentified man suffering from severe burns at a nearby hotel. UT Lifestar landed in the parking lot of of the Hard Rock Café on the Parkway and transported the victim to UT Medical Center in Knoxville for treatment. That victim’s condition is unknown at this time.
“The cause of the fire is under investigation,” said Chief Watson.
Authorities are also investigating the connection between the burn victim and fire at the garage, which they say was used only for storage. He was not a resident of the home at that address.
Two cars parked nearby suffered minor damage but the fire was contained and did not spread to the residence or any nearby structures.
Video courtesy of Benji Wells