The fire was mostly in the back of the home.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – La Follette Firefighters have dealt with fires where electricity is not in service on a structure though there is electricity on because the occupant is stealing electricity putting firefighters at great risk. Friday’s afternoon fire at one of the four ginger bread houses on Cherry Street was one of those rare situations where electricity was being stolen according to Chief Jimmy Pack. “It was a most unique situation, very well camouflaged,” said the chief.

“There was no electricity to this house, LUB even verified it, but then we ended up with two of our men being shocked and suffering minor injuries; one even had to be transported to the La Follette Medical Center. He was later released,” said Pack. The chief explained that they could just not figure out where the electricity was coming from, and they eventually found an extension cord coming through PVC piping, like plumbing. “It was the best hidden set up I’d ever seen, but it wasn’t coming from the house next door, it was coming from two houses over,” added the chief.

The fire was contained to the back of the ginger bread house that sits second in the row. “The house suffered heavy damage despite the quick knock down. It was a very good knock down,” said Chief Pack.

The B Shift was on duty. However, the A and C Shifts were also at the City’s main fire house for what had been a week of training. “We all responded and were on scene in under a minute,” said Pack. The call came in at 3:42pm, and units cleared the scene around 6:30pm.

Aside from the two firefighters, there were no other injuries. “There wasn’t anyone in the home. I was told the woman who lives here was taken to the hospital around 6 o’clock this morning,” said Chief Pack.

Cherry Street was blocked for the better part of three hours as units from La Follette Fire and Police, LUB and the Campbell County EMS responded.

That wasn’t the only fire on what was a sunny, warm and breezy day. At 2:47pm, there was a grass fire along I-75 at Mile Marker 154.6, an abandoned house fire at 7:03pm on Stinking Creek Road and at 7:13pm, there was an unidentified fire close to I-75 at Mile Marker 150. The Jellico Rescue Squad battled all three of those fires.

The combination of gusty southerly winds, low relative humidities, near record temperatures and a recent stretch of dry weather will lead to an elevated fire risk today; especially during the afternoon hours. Burn permits within the City of La Follette will not be issued until further notice according to Chief Pack, and the Tennessee Division of Forestry states that permits will not be issued on days and in locations if it is considered unsafe to conduct a debris burn. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/05/2022-11AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S AARON HOPKINS)