A Corbin family of 16 was left homeless Tuesday morning after a fire destroyed their home on Engineer Street.
Corbin firefighters were called to the scene at 800 Engineer Street, near the intersection with Beatty Ave., at approximately 9 a.m.
Heavy smoke and flames were shooting from multiple places on the single-story home.
Corbin Fire Chief Barry McDonald said family members told firefighters the occupants included four adults and 12 children.
“There were seven in the house when the fire started,” said Battalion Chief Jack Partin.
Neighbors said the children range in age from toddler to fourth or fifth grade.
One neighbor said when she opened her front door she could see smoke pouring from the home and heard the adults screaming because several of the children were unaccounted for.
As the house burst into flames, the adults screamed for the children through a side window and were able to pull the remaining children to safety.
“It was a scary situation,” the woman said.
McDonald said one of the children and one of the adults were airlifted to the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
“There are two other children at the hospital that they are talking about taking to UK,” McDonald said Tuesday afternoon.
Several other neighbors offered children’s clothing and other items to the family, several of whom escaped without even a pair of shoes.
Corbin firefighters attacked the blaze from multiple directions, including sending a crew through the front door with a hose line. Additional crews targeted the flames through multiple windows.
However, as the fire burned through the roof, the horn on the nearby ladder truck was sounded as a signal for the firefighters to evacuate the premises.
“The roof was starting to fall in and we wanted to back everybody out and see which way we needed to go from there,” McDonald said.
McDonald explained that firefighting was made more difficult because of the way the house had been constructed and later added onto.
“There was a metal roof on top of the original roof, and in some places there were three to four different layers of walls,” McDonald explained.
“There is nothing salvageable,” he said.
West Knox firefighters were paged to the scene for additional manpower, along with multiple off-duty Corbin firefighters. In addition, the Laurel County Fire Department brought its Cascade truck to allow firefighters to refill their air tanks on sight.
“We had 15 Corbin firefighters, four from West Knox and one from Laurel County,” McDonald said.
In addition, Knox EMS and Whitley EMS both responded.
McDonald said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but emphasized that there is nothing at the scene to suspect arson.
Firefighters contacted the Red Cross to help the family members.