Chattanooga firefighters battled a fully-involved structure fire in Hixson Monday night, and the incident involved at least one fatality.
Dr. Steve Cogswell with the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Courtney D. Godwin, 25. Dr. Cogswell said Ms. Godwin died from smoke inhalation.
The first call to 911 Communications was received at 8:16 p.m., with the report of a fully-involved structure fire with entrapment at 1332 Highland Way.
Captain Brent Arnold with Quint 16 said the house was fully engulfed in flames when the first firefighters arrived. Firefighters initially tried to enter the structure to look for victims, but Captain Arnold said the heat and flames were so intense that it was too dangerous for the firefighters to go in. Instead, the firefighters were ordered to pull back and fight the fire defensively, keeping the fire from spreading to other houses nearby.
Captain Carlos Hampton, the incident commander, said the firefighters worked as quickly as they could to get the fire under control. When the bulk of the fire was extinguished, firefighters found a Ms. Godwin's body in a back bedroom. Firefighters were conducting a search of the one-story structure to look for any other victims.
Haley Neal, 29, told Lt. Henry McElvain with the Fire Investigation Division that she barely escaped through a bedroom window. She was transported by Hamilton County EMS to Erlanger Medical Center, where she was treated and released for smoke inhalation from Erlanger overnight.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Major Crimes Division of the Chattanooga Police Department will also be involved in the investigation, which is standard protocol when a fatality or serious injury is involved.
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