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.



Webb Arrested For Helping Another Man Steal Items From His Grandfather's House

Dylon Webb, 22, was arrested for burglary after helping another man steal items from his grandfather’s house, police said. Officers spoke to victim David Harvey, 63, who believed it was his grandson who had broken into his house, resulting in the theft of several items, including a .22 caliber rifle. Police said they also spoke to Webb’s mother who told them it was her ... (click for more)

Ryan Burton, 26, Arrested After Ripping Off Roommate’s Ear

R yan Burton, 26, was arrested after ripping off the bottom part of his roommate’s ear during an altercation in March, police said. Officers spoke to Burton’s three roommates at 434 Whitehall Road, where they said they had been living with the suspect for more than six months and never known him to be violent. One of the roommates, Garrett Forster, told police that the ... (click for more)

Judge Steelman Was Unfairly Criticized In Handling Of School Bus Driver Rape Case - And Response

We are blessed to have freedom of speech in our society, but I am always amazed at the number of folks who voice such strong antagonistic opinions about things without any apparent first-hand knowledge.   As any who wish to criticize the system should know, people get arrested and charged for criminal offenses every day.  The ultimate charge and penalty which results ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote For Rhonda Thurman

After studying the Hamilton County School Board quite harshly during the last seven most-tumultuous months in its history, it is only proper that I share my belief that Rhonda is its Most Valuable Player. Four of the school board’s nine members are up for re-election, with Rhonda facing capable opponents in Jason Moses and Dr. Patti Skates in District 1, but let’s never forget that ... (click for more)

Williams Hired To Lead Restart Of Owls Boys' Basketball

Jay Williams has been hired as Ooltewah’s head boys’ basketball coach, a program rocked by a rape scandal last December that eventually led Hamilton County School officials to disband the varsity team and cancel more than half its schedule. Williams, who has strong ties to Ooltewah High School, previously coached at LaFayette School and Northwest Whitfield high schools in Northwest ... (click for more)

TSSAA Sets Future Division I, Division II Classifications

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has released the minutes from Wednesday’s meeting in Hermitage pertaining to football classification period for the 2017-18 and run through 2020-2021 1.  Roll Call 2.  Division I and Division II Classification The Board of Control voted the following for the classification period that ... (click for more)