Arson suspected in Sevierville house fires

Sep. 24, 2013 @ 11:27 PM

Authorities believe someone deliberately set five fires at vacant houses on Apple Ridge Way early Monday morning, including some that appeared to start after firefighters arrived on the road.

Firefighters responded to a call about a brush fire at about 3:45 a.m., said Bob Stahlke, public information officer for the Sevierville Police Department. When they arrived, however, they found a house already engulfed in flames.

While they were fighting the first fire, they saw fires erupt at four more homes in the same area.

Eventually, 60 firefighters were called to the scene, including personnel from the Pigeon Forge Fire Department, Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department, Northview/Kodak Volunteer Fire Department, Seymour Volunteer Fire Department and Walden’s Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

“The first home was completely destroyed; the rest suffered varying degrees of fire, smoke and water damage,” Stahlke said.

Sevierville Fire Chief Matt Henderson said there weren’t any other homes nearby and that the fire didn’t spread into the woods around the houses.

Because the homes were unoccupied and because of evidence found at the scene, authorities suspect the fires were the result of arson. Firefighters reported the flames didn’t appear to spread from one home to the other, and preliminary investigation also indicated the fires started independently of each other.

Authorities are asking anyone with possible information on the fires to call Sevierville Fire Marshal Tommy White at 868-1708, or call Detective Dweese Milliron at 453-5506.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com