Chattanooga (TN) Firefighter Injured in Duplex Fire

Story by Bruce Garner

A Chattanooga (TN) firefighter was injured Sunday morning while working to extinguish a duplex fire in the Glenwood community. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 10:30 a.m. and responded to 202 Glenwood Circle with five fire companies.

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Battalion Chief Nate Middlebrooks said most of the “A” side of the duplex was fully engulfed in flames and had broken through the roof when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As the firefighters made their way inside the duplex with hand-held hoselines to extinguish the fire, a plaster ceiling in one of the bedrooms fell on top of a firefighter, hitting him on the head and back.

As the firefighter was helped out by fellow firefighters, Chief Middlebrooks ordered all of the firefighters out of the structure for their own protection. The firefighters fought the fire defensively, using a deck gun from one of pumpers while other firefighters made sure the fire didn’t spread to adjacent houses. Chief Middlebrooks said they were able to get the fire under control in roughly 20 minutes.

The injured firefighter–whose name is not being released at this time–was taken to Erlanger Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Battalion Chief Rick Boatwright said the firefighter will be off work for several days while he recovers from his injuries.

Walter Hurt Jr. and Stephanie Smith were home when the fire was discovered. Stephanie told firefighters that she was cooking breakfast when she saw smoke coming from the kitchen cabinets and the air conditioning vents. They picked up their dog “Quejoe” and quickly got out of the house. The resident in the “B” side of the duplex also got out uninjured. A neighbor saw the smoke and called 911. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

No estimate on the dollar loss was available, but the damage was extensive. Two cars were also badly damaged or destroyed. Volunteers with the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee were called in to provide assistance to the victims. Chattanooga police, Hamilton County EMS, and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue also provided valuable assistance on the scene.

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