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


Copies Of Remaining Chattanooga Photo Books Available At Zarzour's Restaurant

Remaining copies of the Chattanooga Photo books are available at Zarzours Restaurant on Rossville Avenue off Main Street. It is near Fire Hall #1. They include the Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga, and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga.  All were published by Chattanoogan.com and printed by College Press at Collegedale. The more than ... (click for more)

Brown Charged After GPS Pinpoints Location Of Stolen Box Truck

Police have arrested Charles Eric Brown after a GPS pinpointed the location of an expensive stolen box truck and other stolen items at his parents' residence. Brown, 29, of 3000 McGill Cemetery Road, is charged with theft over $65,000, burglary and vandalism. Officials of American Stage Company on Tennessee Avenue reported a burglary on July 30. The owner said they locked ... (click for more)

Shame On Anyone Planning A Protest At Coolidge Park Thursday Evening - And Response (7)

Whether you're Alt-Left or Alt-Right, Coolidge Park isn't the place to showcase your hate and indifference with one another. Just because it's your right, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should do it. Many have this misconception that this park is named after a President, Nope. It's named after a great man, a true patriot, and Medal of Honor recipient from right ... (click for more)

A Tale Of 3 Properties

Here in Lookout Valley on the far southwest edge of Chattanooga and Hamilton County, trees and rocks are plentiful but sidewalks are as rare as unicorns. It’s a land the governments forget – until tax collection time.  The recent county reappraisal spoke about ‘comps,’ recent sale prices of comparable local properties. But the assessors defined ‘comparable’ to suit themselves, ... (click for more)

Baylor Scores Six Straight TDs In 42-21 Win Over Irish

Notre Dame coach Charles Fant knows that the only way his Fighting Irish football team will get better is to schedule teams that are better. Fant got his wish Thursday night at Finley Stadium in the opening game of the first-ever Kickoff Classic as Notre Dame challenged the Baylor Red Raiders. Nobody scored in the first quarter, but the Irish drew first blood with a touchdown ... (click for more)

Lady Raiders Open Season With 3-0 Sweep Of Lady Owls

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – A year ago, Cleveland dominated perennial District 5-3A volleyball contender Ooltewah by winning all three matches between the two rivals. The last time the two teams clashed was in the district tournament championship game and the Lady Blue Raiders won 3-1 after posting a pair of 3-0 wins during the regular season. The Lady Raiders and Lady Owls squared ... (click for more)