3 Firefighters Injured In Structure Fire Monday Morning; 1 Sent On To Vanderbilt Burn Unit

Monday, October 7, 2013
- photo by Bruce Garner

Three Chattanooga firefighters were treated for their burns and released from Erlanger Medical Center after receiving injuries in a structure fire Monday morning.

One of the three Chattanooga firefighters later went on to the burn unit at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville to receive follow-up care. 

The names of the firefighters are being withheld for now.

Just minutes after participating in a memorial service at the Fireman’s Fountain to kick off Fire Prevention Week, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire at 2813 4th Ave. on Monday at 10:44 a.m. 

The first firefighters to arrived and saw smoke and flames on the backside of the structure. They were told that someone might still be inside the house, which was split up into a residence on one side and a business on the other.

Captain Michael Wright, the incident commander, said the firefighters quickly made their way inside to search for victims. They did not find anyone inside, but while they were looking, it is believed they experienced a flashover. 

A flashover occurs when all of the combustible materials in a room or an enclosed space reach their ignition temperatures at the same time. It is not unlike an explosion and the temperatures in the room jump to 1,000 degrees or more. With those extreme temperatures, even the firefighter’s protective gear can fail. That may be what happened with this fire. 

The three firefighters sustained burns to their head, neck, arms and hands, and they were transported by Hamilton County EMS to Erlanger Medical Center. A paramedic said their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. 

The flames had spread into the attic before firefighters could get the blaze under control, but they were able to save a good portion of the structure. An estimate on the dollar loss was not available. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Chattanooga police and EPB also provided valuable assistance.

Click here to watch video.

- Photo2 by Bruce Garner

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