Man Charged With Starting Fire At Red Bank Quadraplex That Claimed Woman's Life

Thursday, November 28, 2013
Christopher Richard Wehunt
Christopher Richard Wehunt

A man has been charged with criminal homicide for allegedly starting a fire that destroyed a Red Bank quadraplex early Thanksgiving morning and claimed the life of a 51-year-old woman.

As a result of the investigation, Christopher Wehunt, 33, of 133 Goodson Avenue, Red Bank, was also charged with aggravated arson, felony reckless endangerment, felony vandalism, and two counts of reckless aggravated assault. 

Wehunt was booked into the Hamilton County Jail under a total bond of $750,000.

He was charged in June with public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

The victim was identified as Dewey Lee Rose, 51, a resident of the apartment building. 

Another person was injured after jumping from a bathroom window after the fire at the four-unit building.  

Firefighters in Red Bank responded to the blaze at 137 Hedgewood Dr. 20 minutes after dealing with a fire at 109 Miller Ave.
 

While Red Bank firefighters were still at the fire at Miller Avenue, there was a call to Hedgewood Drive. Red Bank firefighters responded to the scene and reported fire showing at the front door, window and at the back side of the building. 

Red Bank immediately requested a Mutual Aid response for additional units and manpower. The Signal Mountain Fire Department, Walden's Ridge Emergency Services, Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department, East Ridge Fire Department and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue responded to assist Red Bank firefighters. 

Once on the scene, firefighters were told by other residents who lived at the Hedgewood quadraplex that someone was trapped in their apartment. Firefighters quickly conducted an interior attack to make entryway to the trapped victim. Once they found the victim, it was too late. Firefighters confirmed one fire fatality located upstairs of the 4 unit building.  

Hamilton County EMS transported the woman who jumped out of the window to Erlanger Hospital.

Another resident escaped out of a window and climbed down a tree. No other injuries were reported. 

The building is a total loss and damages are unknown at this time. 

The American Red Cross responded to the scene to help the four families that were displaced from their apartments. 

Red Bank Deputy Chief Brent Sylar reported that the two house fires are not related to each other.

It was 5 a.m. when Red Bank firefighters respond to the Miller Avenue fire. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they reported fire showing in the attic area. Firefighters conducted an interior attack and contained the fire within 20 minutes. 

The cause of the fire is undetermined and will be under investigation by the Red Bank Fire Department. The house is a total loss. 

The American Red Cross responded to the scene to assist the family with their immediate needs.



Meigs County Chancery Court Clerk And Master Timothy Proffitt Arrested For Criminal Simulation

Special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained an indictment for Timothy Proffitt, Meigs County Chancery Court clerk and master, who is charged with falsifying a hotel receipt. At the request of 9 th  District Attorney General Russell Johnson, agents began investigating Proffitt on Oct. 30. During the course of the investigation, agents determined ... (click for more)

Dalton Police Seek High-Dollar Coin Thief

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying a man who stole an assortment of rare coins worth nearly $40,000 from a local store by concealing them under his jacket.   The theft happened Nov. 17, at Dalton Stamp and Coin at 110 West Waugh Street. At approximately 5:30 p.m., a man went in to the store and began asking the owner about rare ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Faculty Has No Business Being Involved In Hiring Decisions

This letter will hopefully bring some clarity to the recent situation created by the faculty of Chattanooga State Community College. It is based upon my tenure as a member of the faculty at Chattanooga State Technical Institute, the transformation to Chattanooga State Community College, and my service as the financial and administrative officer at Chattanooga State until my retirement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Thanksgiving Conversations

I am not predicting this will happen but I have known it to occur – in the middle of the Thanksgiving feast there will come a lull in the conversation and you can save the day if you’ll immediately look at the person to your right and ask, “What is the smartest thing you ever heard somebody say?” It is an easy thing, because we all love wisdom, and the ploy comes to mind because ... (click for more)

Vols' Jones: Vanderbilt Will Present Various Challenges

Tennessee football coach and selected players met with the media Monday during the Vols’ weekly press conference at Neyland Stadium. The coach and players – linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and defensive back Cameron Sutton discussed last week’s loss to Missouri and the upcoming Southeastern Conference finale against rival Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Vols 5-6, 2-5 SEC) ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Toser, Turner Set For TACA All-Stars

Ooltewah place-kicker Laszlo Toser and cheerleader Haley Turner, both seniors, will participate in the 2014 East-West All-Star football game at Tennessee Tech University on Dec. 12. Toser, the Owls’ record-setting kicker who is a Mr. Football finalist, will report on Tuesday night for practices leading up to the eighth annual game promoted by the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association. ... (click for more)