Fire at Seymour Flea Market shuts down Chapman Highway, brings in multiple fire units

May. 03, 2013 @ 08:28 PM

Chapman Highway was closed in both directions for hours Friday as firefighters from several local departments fought a blaze at a set of businesses in the area of Shiloh Church Road and Sugarloaf Road.

The fire at the Seymour Flea Market was apparently first reported around 5:30 p.m. by a passerby who flagged down a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy was on the scene shortly after and called for firefighters.

Within a short time, dispatchers were calling for aid from multiple agencies, and deputies had closed Chapman Highway (U.S. 441 between Sevierville and Seymour), directing traffic to turn around or to use side roads. On the north side, traffic turned onto Sugarloaf Road, causing a long backup on that road as well.

Officials indicated Friday evening they expected to be fighting the fire for some time, and were calling again for additional support from surrounding agencies as the fire continued through the evening. Black smoke could be seen rising over the highway, and traffic was reportedly backed up for miles at one point.

Dispatchers also were calling for utility agencies to manage electrical and other lines affected by the fire.

The fire appeared to have started inside the flea market, and firefighters seemed to focus on containing it there to keep it from spreading into nearby woods or onto other property.

A caller who lived in the area said the building was originally Ralph Carr's Grocery Store, and had been there for more than 30 years.

Some people in the area reported hearing explosions, and said there could have been ammunition and propane tanks in the area.

No injuries had been reported as of press time.

n jfarrell@themountainpress.com