Three rescued from Gatlinburg condo fire

Apr. 17, 2014 @ 11:49 PM

Firefighters rescued three people and preserved several units of at a set of condominiums atop a mountain here Wednesday morning.

Gatlinburg firefighters were dispatched to the fire at the Gatlinburg Summit Condominiums on Ski View Drive at 6:09 a.m., and found a group of three people trapped on a balcony. “They were safely rescued and treated for smoke inhalation,” city spokesperson Marci Claude said.

No injuries were reported in the incident. The fire damaged about a dozen units in one building, but firefighters were able to keep it from spreading through the rest of the structure or into other nearby buildings.

Four of the condos damaged in the fire were occupied; officials said that one of them was occupied by a permanent resident, and the other three were occupied by tourists visiting the area.

“Fortunately, almost everybody had checked out yesterday,” said property manager Penny Nicely.

By Wednesday afternoon, Nicely said displaced families had been moved to other condos, and the families had all left the aptly named mountaintop development for Gatlinburg. At least one couple that owned a condo had arrived to survey the damage, but declined to be interviewed by The Mountain Press.

Fire investigators were looking to confirm the cause of the fire Wednesday, but one of the occupants told them it started in his unit.

“The fire allegedly started in a microwave oven. The occupant tried to extinguish the fire,” Claude said. The city didn’t release the occupant’s name Wednesday.

Pigeon Forge Fire Department and Sevier County Ambulance Service assisted Gatlinburg Fire Department in responding to the blaze.

“Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge fire departments did a wonderful job containing it and keeping it away from the other buildings,” Nicely said.

Marty Nicely, who manages the property along with his wife, said the condos had smoke alarms but no sprinkler system. That met the requirements when the condos were constructed, he said, and they have passed regular inspections since then.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com