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Volunteers' quick response contains Bluff City blaze

Staff report • May 9, 2007 at 11:39 AM

BLUFF CITY - A 2-acre fire off Big Arm Branch Road Tuesday afternoon carried the potential to burn much more land, but the quick response of local volunteer agencies contained the blaze within an hour.

"If they hadn't got up there and on it quick, who knows - it could have (burned) 15, 20 acres," said Steve Bingham, a technician for the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

Around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, units from Piney Flats, Bluff City, Avoca and Hickory Tree volunteer fire departments responded to the scene, off Highway 19 near Bluff City. Fire engines and trucks blocked traffic on the tiny, dead-end road as the crews worked to create a line around the fire. It was contained within about an hour after it began.

"Luckily it was on the side of the road where ... there was no house," Bingham said. "Luckily the volunteer fire departments got up there quick and were able to get to the fire, jump on it in a hurry and knock it down."

Bingham said investigators were on the scene Wednesday morning, as arson was originally considered as a cause. But based on statements from people in the area, who saw no strange vehicles or people on the road, Bingham said the blaze was most likely sparked by a carelessly disregarded cigarette.

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