Wes Hensley, deputy chief of the Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department, said the injured firefighter, whose name was not released, was a member of one of several neighboring fire departments that assisted with the fire at a building located near Wisemans Clothing and Shoe store on Unicoi Drive.
“He’s bruised and banged but he’s OK. He called me from the station this morning,” Hensley said.
According to Hensley, the fire was reported about 1 a.m. and flames were coming through the windows of the building when the first fire units arrived.
While high winds intensified the blaze, Hensley said the fire did not make it through the roof of the building. Firefighters remained on the scene until about 7 a.m.
Hensley said the building that burned is located 30 to 40 feet from the popular Western clothing store that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Ironically, this week also marks the 50th anniversary of the Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department.
Electricity to the building that burned had been disconnected some time prior to the fire. Investigation of the blaze has been turned over to the state fire marshal’s office.
In addition to Unicoi, responding fire departments included Johnson City, West Carter County, Central and Hampton-Valley Forge. Officers of the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department also responded to the fire. The injured firefighter was a member of the West Carter Volunteer Fire Department.
Hensley thanked all the firefighters, officers and neighboring fire departments for their assistance.
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