Fire raced through a Hixson home this morning, leaving a family of seven homeless. Jose Martinez told firefighters that he and his family were asleep when he awoke to the sound of loud “popping” noises. When he went to investigate, he saw that his Lincoln Navigator was on fire in the carport. He got his family safely out of the house and used his daughter’s cell phone to call 911.
The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 2:39 a.m. and responded to 1227 Gadd Road with five fire companies. When the first firefighters arrived, Captain Chip Kincer with Quint 19 said two vehicles, a carport and a significant portion of the house was on fire. As additional fire companies arrived on the scene, Captain Kincer said his firefighters protected a third vehicle and garage while attacking the fire inside the residence. No injuries were reported.
Battalion Chief Rick Sewell, the incident commander, said the fire in the modular home was difficult to extinguish due to a partial collapse of the roof in the rear. Chief Sewell said it took 45 minutes to an hour to get the blaze under control. The damages are estimated at $62,000 on the house, $20,000 on the contents and $15,000 for two vehicles.
Lt. Henry McElvain with the Fire Investigation Division said three adults and four children lived in the house, which they were leasing with the intent to purchase. Lt. McElvain said the family was Hispanic and there was a language barrier in interviewing them. Fortunately, Firefighter Samuel Gutierrez, who was on the scene with Quint 6, is originally from Mexico and fluent in Spanish, so he served as an interpreter.
Volunteers with the American Red Cross were called in to provide assistance to the family. Lt. McElvain said the fire appears to have started in the carport area, but what exactly sparked the blaze is undetermined.
Chattanooga police and Hamilton County EMS also provided assistance.