Fire Survivor Meets Her Rescuers

Saturday, December 9, 2017
A 45-year-old woman who was pulled from her burning home last September got to meet the people who rescued her on Saturday. Carrie Gann was critically injured when her house at 111 Centro Street was engulfed in flames early in the morning on September 20
"I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for these men right here," said Ms. Gann, as she arrived at Fire Station 20 this morning to meet the three Chattanooga firefighters who saved her life: Senior Firefighter Joel Nix, Firefighter Engineer Matt Rorex and Firefighter Ryan Swisher.

Ms. Gann was critically injured when her house at 111 Centro Street was engulfed in flames early in the morning on Sept. 20, 2017. Her brother and a friend both got out with minor injuries, but she was trapped in her bedroom. When she called 911, she told Hamilton County Telecommunicator Stephanie McCarter that she was trapped and could not get out. Ms. McCarter told her that help was on the way, and that she should get down low and cover her mouth and nose with fabric to help filter out some of the smoke. Ms. Gann stayed on the line, finding it harder and harder to breathe, until she eventually fell unconscious. Later in the 911 recording one can hear the firefighters approaching her room. Talking through their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), one can hear when they find her and carry her out to safety. Ms. Gann's two pet dogs did not survive.

Even with the expert care she received on the scene, and at Erlanger Medical Center and the burn center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, her survival was in doubt. But after spending days in the ICU, she slowly began to recover, and when she felt strong enough, she asked if she could meet her rescuers. 

In addition to meeting the three firefighters who pulled her out of the house, she also met the firefighters with Quint 14, who administered CPR to her before handing her off to paramedics with Hamilton County EMS. She got to meet one of those paramedics, Randy Kerns with Medic 10, and she also got to meet face-to-face, Telecommunicator McCarter, who stayed on the line with her until the firefighters arrived. Ms. Gann learned through her life-threatening experience that it often takes a whole team of first responders to save a life. 

Before leaving, Ms. Gann told everyone that she is getting a tattoo on her arm, with the names of the three firefighters she got to meet today. "I want people to know that these guys saved my life, and it's the truth."

Video of Saturday's events are available here:

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