WJTV News Channel 12 - Bristol House fire total loss, no injuries

Bristol House fire total loss, no injuries

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BRISTOL, TN (WJHL) -

Sunday morning at 5:30 firefighters in Bristol responded to a devastating house fire on 307 Oak Street with a magnitude firefighters said they rarely see.

"When I woke up I saw all the lights and flames out my bedroom window. It's devastating," next door neighbor Marcia Tiller said.

"It's a total loss," Bristol Fire Department Captain Mark Garrett said.

The residence was dived in to three apartments each with one tenant. Smoke detectors in the home woke up those in the building.

"Never go to sleep without working smoke detectors in your home," Garrett said. "Nobody was hurt. No firefighters were hurt."

"They made sure they worked together and they got everybody out. [One tenant] even got her cat out," Tiller said.

Tiller and her husband located each tenant this morning and brought them in to their home.

Joe Howington was inside the apartment when the fire happened.

He sat on the porch across the street for hours, watching the building he's owed and lived in for 47 years burn to the ground.

It's the building's age that fire fighters said is likely the reason it's a total loss.

"This type of building is what we call balloon construction. It can start on the bottom floor and spread to the attic and that's why the attic is gone," Garrett said.

He said the way houses used to be built decades ago didn't have the fire barriers newer homes do.

The Red Cross has provided three days stay in a motel and about 100 dollars to each resident.

"We were so hurt to find out that the people in this house only have three days in a motel, and after that they're on their own and these people have nothing. They've lost it all," Tiller said.

That's why Tiller and her family are trying to raise money for Howington and the other two residents.

"They need all the help they can get," Tiller said.

Garrett said the investigation in to the cause of the fire should be completed Monday.

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