Chattanooga firefighters responded to an early morning house fire on Wednesday in the 2700 block of Roanoke Avenue. The 911 Communications Center received the first report of the fire shortly after 3 a.m. and dispatched five fire companies.
Captain Carlos Hampton, the incident commander, said the small, wood-frame house was fully engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. Those first firefighters were with Engine 4 and as they pulled up to the house, a live power line fell across the truck. Trying to avoid electrocution, the firefighters jumped out of the fire truck so they could begin firefighting operations. None of the firefighters were injured, but EPB was asked to rush a repair crew to the scene to disconnect the power and remove the wire that had fallen on the fire engine.
The house was boarded up and had been vacant for some time, but neighbors told the firefighters that a homeless man had been seen in the house, and they were concerned he might still be in there. One neighbor said he tried to go into the house to find the man, but injured his hand while trying to pull away a board to gain access. The neighbor was transported by Hamilton County EMS to Erlanger Medical Center, where he was treated and released for second and third-degree burns on one hand. The firefighters did not find anyone in the house.
The fire caused substantial damage and the house was considered a total loss. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Chattanooga Police Department also provided assistance.