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Fire that destroyed Seymour Flea Market was an accident

1:47 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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Update: Captain Jeff McCarter with Sevier County Sheriff's office confirms that the fire at the Seymour Flea Market was electrical and it has been ruled an accident.

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(May 4, 2013) More than six hours after a large fire broke out at the Seymour Flea Market along Chapman Highway, firefighters were continuing to put out hot spots late Friday night.

Firefighters from various departments throughout Sevier, Knox, and Blount counties were called to the scene at the flea market in the 13300 block around 5:30 p.m. It's located between Seymour proper and Sevierville.

The owner of the flea market, Bud Council, said he lost four cats, three dogs, and more than $400,000 worth of property in the blaze. No people were reported hurt.

Many of the objects inside the flea market were antiques, including furniture. Also, several small engines were found too, from a side business inside the structure.

"Everything's up in smoke. You name it, everything's in there; just like a small Walmart," he said. He has owned the building for more than 10 years. The building is at least 40 years old.

The age of the merchandise contributed to the difficulty in putting out the blaze, according to Seymour Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Nunn.

"There's fuel loads from antiques. Antiques for the most part are volatile because of their age," the chief said.

Trucks from at least nine departments were called in to help haul water to the scene, since there were no hydrants nearby.

Several small explosions were also heard. Chief said some of them were caused by gasoline and propane from the small engines.

For the shop owner, one of the most difficult aspects of the fire was the loss of his pets. He lost three dogs and four cats.

"We rescue them here because people drop 'em off here," he said. "Because people are cruel, so we take 'em in. They're all dead."

As of 11:30, most of the fire appeared to be extinguished, and a backhoe was tearing through parts of the rubble.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Authorities did not estimate when they would be able to fully reopen the highway.

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