Firefighters battle Anderson County motel fire

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ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A fire in a Anderson County motel leaves many without a place to stay tonight.

It happened at the Motel 6 just off of the Interstate 75 exit at mile marker 122.

Crews put the fire out, but about 20 rooms were burned and the entire building had smoke and water damage.

"It was like a movie. I never thought I would experience something like this," said Tammy Sturgell, the Motel 6 head housekeeper.

Sturgell was walking back from lunch when saw flames and smoke coming from the bushes along the side, and moving up the outside wall fast.

"So I ran up screaming for Rocky, the owners, that the building was on fire," said Sturgell.

"Up the wall and into the attic area. And with the wind and stuff we was having, pushed it into the attic area so we had a lot of fire in the attic area upon our arrival," said Chief Archie Brummitt.

There was little the firefighters could do to save this side of the building, but crews did stop it from spreading.

Crews threw smoky mattresses out the building and knocked out windows to extinguish hot spots.

Everything Sturgell and her husband owned was inside their apartment, now burned.

"When you see it on TV happening to someone else, it doesn't hit you like really hard like it does when you experience it. Then you understand how other people feel," said Sturgell.

She doesn't know where they will stay for now, or when she can even go back to work, but there is relief that everyone escaped the fire.

The cause of the fire is not known, but some speculate it was a cigarette thrown into the mulch that may have sparked it.

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