Neighbors Save Knoxville Man from Blaze

Knoxville (WVLT) - A fire that broke out in North Knoxville just before midnight destroyed much of one home.

But luckily, everyone inside did make it out safely, although one man was injured.

The Knoxville Fire Department says a cigarette is to blame for the fire that destroyed this home on Boone Street. Although calls from neighbors may have saved lives, the fire had a substantial lead on the fire department.

Neighbors awoke late Tuesday night to heavy smoke coming out of the roof of 1731 Boone Street.

"Heard a big boom by the time i got out the door with my jacket and stuff the house it was gone blazing across the road," Ray Gray immediately had his wife call 911 and he headed down the street to help.

"It was about halfway in the road coming out the top of the house and it didn't take it no time to do that. It was too late it was gone," Gray says.

The Knoxville Fire Department says 39-year-old Rodney Sutton fell asleep with a lit cigarette.

"When he awoke the mattress was almost fully engulfed and his cell phone was on the bed so he couldn't call 911," Knoxville Fire Captain Darrell Whitaker explains.

Sutton got his mother and 2 young children out, then went back in to try and fight the fire himself.

"He did try his best to try to put the fire out and that's how he sustained his burns, he had some burns to his hands," Whitaker says.

But despite his efforts a condemned sign was nailed to the home by the City of Knoxville and although nothing remains but black soot and melted siding firefighters say without the calls from neighbors, lives could have also been lost.

"The fast acting neighbors getting over and waking them and calling 911 as fast as they did getting us here probably saved that gentlemen's life and the two children," Whitaker says.

Sutton was also treated for smoke inhalation and released early Wednesday afternoon.

The family is staying with other family members.

The Red Cross tells us they helped them with food and clothing.