No one injured in apartment kitchen fire

Wakefield Road Apartment Fire

No one was injured in a kitchen fire on Monday evening at an apartment complex on Wakefield Road. The fire was reported at about 5:48 p.m. Monday in the apartment at 103D Wakefield Road, which is on the far right of the building pictured above.


No one was injured in a kitchen fire on Monday evening in an apartment on Wakefield Road.

The fire was reported at 5:48 p.m. Monday, Oak Ridge Assistant Fire Chief Josh Waldo said. No one was home at the time.

Waldo said firefighters are still trying to determine the cause, but the small fire might have started on the stove. It destroyed the stove and damaged a few cabinets, but was confined to the kitchen and caused minimal smoke damage, Waldo said. He estimated the total damage at about $2,500. [Read more…]

Car once owned by ‘Sound of Music’ actor catches fire in OR

Glenn Bell Car Fire Sound of Music

A 1965 Studebaker station wagon once owned by Dan Truhitte, who played the German officer Rolfe in “The Sound of Music” in 1965, caught fire in Oak Ridge on Friday. Above Oak Ridge Fire Department firefighter Steven London, left, sprays water on the bottom side of the four-door wagon. At right is ORFD firefighter Sandra Sila-Massengill.


A classic car once owned by an actor in “The Sound of Music” movie caught fire in Oak Ridge on Friday afternoon.

Oak Ridge resident Glenn Bell, who now owns the car, smelled gas as he left a doctor’s appointment at Jackson Square Plaza in the green 1965 Studebaker four-door station wagon early Friday afternoon. Bell decided to head home.

As he turned onto Tyler Road from Oak Ridge Turnpike, he saw smoke under the hood and dash, and he jumped out. The car rolled a short distance to the intersection of Tyler and Talmeda roads. [Read more…]

Fallen tree branch causes small electric line fire

Electric Line Fire on North Seneca Road

A fallen tree limb knocked down a power line on Friday night, starting a small fire in a yard on North Seneca Road.


A fallen tree limb knocked down a power line from a utility pole on Friday night, starting a small electric fire in a yard at 150 North Seneca Road.

The Oak Ridge police and fire departments blocked the road until the Oak Ridge Electric Department was able to respond and shut off the power.


The fire was reported at about 11:30 p.m. Friday. It burned for about an hour but did not spread, and firefighters and police officers kept an eye on it while they waited for the power crew.

See another picture here:

[Read more…]

Fifty evacuated, one treated after small fire at Callaghan Towers

Robert Burk and Jean Rivera Evacuation

Oak Ridge Fire Department firefighter and paramedic Robert Burk, right, evacuates Jean Rivera, a resident of the six-story Frank Callaghan Towers on Fairbanks Road after a small fire on Thursday afternoon. Burk is carrying Rivera’s dog Taco. Rivera, who can’t walk steps, said firefighters practically had to carry her downstairs. “I’m shook up,” she said. “I’m nervous.”


About 50 residents were evacuated and one person was treated for smoke inhalation after a small fire was reported in an apartment at Frank Callaghan Towers on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The fire appears to have been caused by an electrical short at an outlet in a second-floor apartment on the northwest side of the building, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said.

A clothes hamper full of clothes ignited, and the fire burned the side of an entertainment center, two lamps, and materials around a window, Kerley said.

“It was a fairly small fire, but it generated a lot of black smoke,” he said. The first three floors of the six-story building were evacuated, and two cats were rescued from the apartment that burned. The apartment resident was not at home at the time. [Read more…]

Video: Oak Ridge Turnpike natural gas line fire


A westbound Honda Odyssey crashed into an aboveground natural gas pipeline on the north side of Oak Ridge Turnpike on September 20, sparking a fire.

Two of three plotters plead guilty in murder attempt

Information from WYSH Radio

Two people accused of conspiring to kill an elderly man pleaded guilty in an Anderson County courtroom on Monday.

David Lee Suddeth, 44, and Dorothy Roxanne McFarland, 53, both pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, attempted aggravated arson, attempted aggravated kidnapping, and theft under $500. In exchange for those pleas, each was sentenced to nine years behind bars.

A third person, the alleged mastermind of the plot, 50-year-old Randolph Lane, is expected to enter a plea in this case on Wednesday. The trio was accused of plotting to kill then-73-year-old Luther Byrge—with whom they were all living—in January of 2012. Their plan was to lock Byrge inside his bedroom, disable the smoke detector, cut the phone lines, and set his house on fire while he was inside. The plan almost worked too, as the phone and smoke detector were disabled and Byrge was locked in his room, but according to testimony in court, the plan ultimately failed when the gasoline that was ignited under a bathroom sink melted the pipes and extinguished the fire. [Read more…]

Honors: Oak Ridge firefighter receives national accreditation

Kerry Osborne

Kerry Osborne

The Center for Public Safety Excellence has notified Captain Kerry Osborne of the Oak Ridge Fire Department that he has received national accreditation as a fire officer.

The Center for Public Safety Excellence Inc., or CPSE, is a nonprofit organization that, for more than a decade, has helped local public safety agencies around the world streamline and improve the services they provide their communities, a press release said. Through its individual commissions, CPSE provides programs that include accreditation for fire and emergency service agencies and professional designations for senior-level fire and emergency service officers.

The press release said Osborne has worked in the emergency services field for more than 21 years and has been with the ORFD since 2007, serving as a captain since 2012. [Read more…]

Former Manhattan Project headquarters, Groves home damaged in fire

Luther Brannon Oak Ridge Turnpike House Fire

The historic Luther Brannon House was damaged, but no injuries were reported in this house fire on Oak Ridge Turnpike early Monday morning. Gen. Leslie R. Groves, commander of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II, once lived here, and he had his headquarters in this single-story bungalow, which was built in 1941 and soon acquired by the federal government.


Note: This story was last updated at 1 p.m. July 8.

A historic house that once served as a home and headquarters for Gen. Leslie R. Groves during the top-secret Manhattan Project in World War II was heavily damaged in a fire early Monday morning.

No injuries were reported in the house fire, which was reported at 1:36 a.m. Monday.

The one-story stone bungalow at 151 Oak Ridge Turnpike is known as the Luther Brannon House, and it’s just west of Melton Lake Drive and next to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was the first home in Oak Ridge to be privately owned.

Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said it appears that the Monday morning fire started in the kitchen. Owner Danny Brannon and his daughter were returning from a movie when they found the home on fire. They opened the front door and found the home filled with hot, black smoke, an ORFD press release said. Brannon opened the basement door to find that area clear, but he found fire coming from the kitchen window in the back of the house. The family called 911.

“We have not been able to determine what the cause is,” Kerley said. The Fire Department is waiting for an insurance company, which is sending an investigator and claims adjuster, before continuing its investigation. [Read more…]

Guest column: Anderson communications center very busy during Tuesday storm

Anderson County Commission and Mark Lucas

Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas is pictured above at right during a special County Commission meeting in November. Also pictured are Anderson County Commissioners Rick Meredith, center, and Jerry White.

To All:

(Tuesday) evening was very, very busy. From 3 p.m. until 11 p.m., our communications center received 589 telephone calls, of which 143 were on 911. The overwhelming number of calls were between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., when 365 calls came to our dispatch center. Of these 365 calls, 109 were on 911.

Comparing to last Tuesday from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m., we received 156 total telephone calls, of which 20 were on 911. The two-hour period from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. last week was only 41 total calls, of which five were on 911.

For the entire shift from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m., that was a 288 percent increase. For the two hours from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., the increase was 790 percent.

We had four communications officers working (Tuesday) when the storm hit. A fifth came into work on her own to help out. Many of these 911 and non-emergency calls required dispatching of emergency personnel from law enforcement, fire, or EMS. Others required notifications to the state and county highway departments and the utility companies. It was non-stop for hours. [Read more…]

Late-night fire forces temporary evacuation of apartment building

Tara Hills Apartment Fire Evacuation

Oak Ridge Fire Department Capt. Kerry Osborne carries a child from a building that had to be evacuated at the Tara Hills apartment complex on Sunday night. The boy was still in the building with his mother and brother when the fire department arrived. (Photos courtesy ORFD)


A fire in a downstairs apartment at the Tara Hills apartment complex on Elmhurst Drive late Sunday night forced the temporary evacuation of roughly 24 apartments, authorities said.

The fire was reported to the Oak Ridge Dispatch office just before midnight, and multiple units from the Oak Ridge Fire Department were dispatched, a press release said. Fire department units arrived to find heavy smoke coming from one of the apartment buildings with several people still inside the building, the release said.

“The fire was on the first floor of the building, but hallways on the second and third floors quickly filled with smoke,” ORFD Deputy Chief Josh Waldo said. [Read more…]

Student lights desk on fire; RMS bomb threat appears unfounded, ORPD says

James T. Akagi

James T. Akagi

Note: This story was last updated at 3:58 p.m.

A 16-year-old student at the Alternative School used hand sanitizer and a lighter to ignite another student’s desktop on Wednesday, authorities said.

Students extinguished the fire, and the suspect was arrested at the Alternative School on Thursday. He was processed at the Oak Ridge Police Department on aggravated arson charges and taken to the Richard L. Bean Juvenile Detention Facility in Knoxville, a press release said.

In a separate incident, authorities determined that a report of an alleged bomb threat at Robertsville Middle School on Monday was unfounded, and no criminal charges are expected.

The ORPD said the desk was set on fire just before dismissal at the Alternative School on Wednesday. The Alternative School is next to the Oak Ridge High School and on the same campus. Staff at the Alternative School notified School Resource Office Sherrill Selby about the incident via e-mail. [Read more…]

Boat destroyed by fire on Norris Lake

Norris Lake Boat Fire

A boat was destroyed by fire on Norris Lake on Monday morning. (Photo by TWRA)

ANDERSONVILLE—A wakeboard boat caught fire and burned late Monday morning on Norris Lake shortly after being launched at Anderson County Park, state officials said.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency responded to the reported boat fire at about 11 a.m. Monday. The 2012 22-foot Supra wakeboard boat was being driven by an unidentified woman, and it was completely engulfed by a fire that started near the vessel’s engine when TWRA Wildlife Officer Jason Lankford responded.

The woman’s husband informed Lankford that he had just launched the vessel when his wife took the boat down the lake for a short ride while he was parking the vehicle. The man also noted that the engine’s power ventilation system, which is designed to help prevent boat fires, was being used as the vessel was launched. [Read more…]