Injured Firefighters Describe Their Ordeal In House Fire On Oct. 7

Friday, October 18, 2013
Senior Firefighter Dan Peterson (left) holds up his charred face mask to show how hot it got inside the house. Firefighter Chad Williams is on the right.
Senior Firefighter Dan Peterson (left) holds up his charred face mask to show how hot it got inside the house. Firefighter Chad Williams is on the right.
- photo by Bruce Garner

Two of the three Chattanooga firefighters who were injured in a structure fire on Oct 7, spoke with reporters on Friday at Fire Station 7 about their experience. With burns clearly visible on their necks and ears, and their hands and arms covered in bandages, they described what happened that day. 

Senior firefighter Dan Peterson and Firefighter Chad Williams were with more than a dozen firefighters who responded to the fire at 2814 4th Ave., but they were among the first to go in. As they searched the house for victims, they made their way toward the rear of the structure. The thick, black smoke reduced the visibility to zero. When they entered a hallway in the back of the house, Mr. Peterson said it “got real hot, real fast.” Mr. Williams said he knew he was in trouble when his hands and arms began stinging intensely from the extreme heat. They decided to back out as quickly as they could, assisted by other firefighters who had entered the building.

Mr. Peterson said he didn’t know just how hot it got in the house until he made it outside and saw his equipment. The face shield on his helmet had melted. Despite their injuries, both firefighters said they still loved their jobs and expressed gratitude for all the support they have received from the fire department, their families, friends, fellow firefighters and other emergency responders. They will be off duty for weeks to recover from their burns, making regular visits to the burn clinic at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville for additional treatment.

A third firefighter, Captain Dean Rogers, who was right behind Mr. Williams and Mr. Peterson, was also burned, though not quite as severely as the other two. Mr. Rogers, and senior firefighter Kyle Duggan, were just named Firefighter of the Year by the Chattanooga Hamilton Place Rotary Club at the annual Fire Prevention Week kick-off ceremony less than two hours earlier that morning. 

Mr. Rogers and Mr. Duggan were recognized for their efforts to save two children in a deadly house fire at 2014 Rawlings Street on April 1. They forced their way into the burning home, and despite extreme risk to their own safety, searched for and found two children inside. One of the children died from injuries sustained in the blaze, but the other survived, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of these two firefighters. Mr. Rogers told fellow firefighters on the phone that he is recovering well, but could not attend Friday’s media event because he was out of town.

At the fire on 4th Avenue on Oct. 7, no one was found in the house and the firefighters were the only ones who were injured. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The burned and melted fire helmet used by Senior Firefighter Dan Peterson
The burned and melted fire helmet used by Senior Firefighter Dan Peterson
- Photo2 by Bruce Garner

Citizen Input Aids In Identification Of Burglary Suspect In Bradley County

A 31 year-old man was already jailed without bond when new felony counts were filed in an unrelated burglary investigation.   Sheriff Eric Watson said citizen input was helpful identifying Daniel Ray Lee Howard as a suspect in the burglary of a home on Leamington Lane. Household items including electronics, appliances, clothing, and jewelry were taken that the homeowner ... (click for more)

Jeffrey Williams, 46, Arrested For Beating His Girlfriend, Preventing Her Escape

Jeffrey Williams, 46, was arrested on Thursday and charged with false imprisonment and aggravated assault after he allegedly beat his girlfriend and prevented her from calling for help. Officers responded to a delayed domestic assault call on Aug. 27 on the 3300 block of Centro Street. When an officer spoke with the victim, she said that her boyfriend came ... (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response (2)

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Every Child Must Watch This

In the course of my day, I read different websites, am sent all kinds of neat videos and I love the jokes I get. But when I logged onto my ever-bulging email account Thursday morning, I happened across the scariest, most terrifying video I have ever watched. There is a website I check called “Atchuup” that boasts “cool stories daily.” Some are pretty good but this one nearly knocked ... (click for more)

Wrestling Session Sparks Lady 'Canes To Volleyball Win

All season long, East Hamilton volleyball coach Kristy Lenoir has been less than pleased with her team’s lack of emotion on the court. So, to change that Lenoir spent her allotted practice time putting the Lady Hurricanes through one-on-one wrestling matches. Yep, wrestling. “I’ve never had a practice like that one,” Lenoir said Thursday. “We’ve lacked emotion and a desire ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Football Opener: UTC vs. Jax State – Saturday at Finley Stadium; 6 p.m.

Saturday at Finley Stadium at 6 p.m.  it’s No.8 Chattanooga vs. No.7 Jacksonville (Ala.) State in arguably the most anticipated and talked about game in Chattanooga football history. An important region rivalry as a pair of top 10 FCS schools meet for the 39th time in the season opener for both schools. “This should be a great game between two of the best teams in ... (click for more)