Williamsburg fire prompts arson investigation

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An intense fire that put two people in the hospital is being called suspicious. The fire started around 4:15pm Monday afternoon. Flames quickly engulfed the building.

Timothy Kersey lived on the basement floor with his wife Leslie. He says when the building caught on fire, no one knew what would happen next. "chaos," Kersey said, "Absolute chaos. Everybody panicking. Everybody running in different directions."

"I have absolutely nothing," resident Jasmine Cornett said, "This is actually my first apartment, and everything that I own was in there." Cornett says she's grateful she wasn't hurt, but she's worried about her neighbors who were not as fortunate.

Williamsburg Fire Chief James Privett says paramedics airlifted one woman to the University Of Tennessee Medical Center. Another woman was taken to a Corbin hospital. Both were treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

Firefighters say one thing they found suspicious was a burned out mattress in a stairwell in the center of the building. "I was talking to these state troopers here, and they're saying that it might have been intentionally set," Kersey said, "If somebody done this there, that's very ungodly. I mean they need to pay for it. They need to go to jail. That's too many families there. Look what happened."

Both Kersey and Cornett said they planned to stay with family and friends following the fire. At least four families were displaced. The Red Cross is assisting with helping those families find shelter.

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