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KFD: Electrical issues started large apartment fire | News

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KFD: Electrical issues started large apartment fire
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ID=19211817(WBIR) Fire investigators determined that electrical problems started a large fire in the attic of a west Knoxville apartment complex.

A Knoxville police officer initially reported the fire at the Sunflower Apartments shortly before 10 p.m. Monday after he saw flames shooting through the roof of the building.

As of 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, crews were still spraying the building near I-640 and I-40. Fire investigations also arrived Tuesday morning to figure out what sparked the fire, which officials believe started in the attic.

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Knoxville Fire Department spokesperson D.J. Corcoran said the fire destroyed at least half of the building, and all of the residents made it out safely. Officials said the fire displaced 21 people, but no one was hurt. Red Cross is helping the displaced residents find temporary shelter.

Corcoran said this building didn't meet the most recent set of codes, which could have made the fire spread quicker.

"They were basically grandfathered in. What we recommend is that renters do your homework and look into the type of building and definitely it's just like vehicles or anything, sometimes the newer improved models are better. They are safer," said Corcoran.

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Cold temperatures created extra challenges for crews fighting the fire. Corcoran said ice formed on parking lots and firefighters had to take turns warming up in the department's rehab bus.
He said crews initially tried to make an internal attack, but the roof began to collapse.


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