3 Police Officers Suffered Burns In Hixson Duplex Fire That Was Deliberately Set By Burglary Suspect

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Three city police officers suffered burns, including one officer having to be taken to the Vanderbilt Burn Unit, in the fire on Sunday night on Eldridge Road in Hixson.

A man who fire officials said set the blaze was listed in critical condition. He was charged with arson. Fire Chief Phillip Hyman said the man was taken to a burn unit out of state and would be extradited back here to face criminal charges. 

A friend of one of the officers involved said in a Facebook post that they were after a burglary suspect at the time, and the suspect set the fire "to try to kill the officers."

Mariah Phillips wrote, "Joe (Kerns) had a very scary encounter tonight on duty. A suspect from a burglary used an accelerant and lit a home on fire with three officers inside to attempt to kill them. 

"Joe was inside. He suffered first-degree burns to his face and severe smoke inhalation which burned his throat. He is still vomiting black soot, but his oxygen is much improved. He had angels surrounding him for sure."

She said Officer Britton Virden was expected to make a full recovery within several weeks.

Burglary detective Michael Woodling had to be taken to the burn center in Nashville.

Police officials said, "CPD was out with a burglary suspect who took off, running into a unit of the duplex. Officers cleared the other side of the duplex, tried to get the suspect to come from the side he entered, and were writing up a search warrant when one of the officers noticed smoke inside the unit.

"The officers knew the suspect was in there, but it was not known if anyone else was in the burning unit. Two patrol officers and one burglary investigator made entry. All three made it out, but all suffered injuries - one taken to Vandy's burn center for treatment. All three have been released from hospitals and are recovering."

Police Asst. Chief Danna Vaughn said police were working on a burglary case and they detained two individuals, but a third ran into the duplex and started the fire.

Chief David Roddy was it was "an extremely quickly evolving and degrading situation. The house was engulfed very quickly."

He said the police officers involved acted to try to save the person who had set the fire as well as to rescue one another.

Chief Roddy said, "It could have been much worse."

The incident happened at 9:10 p.m. in the 5100 block of Eldridge Road.

Fire officials said, "There were reports of possible entrapment in the residential blaze so a second alarm was called to bring additional units to the scene.

"When crews arrived, there was heavy fire coming out of the front of the unit on the left side of the duplex.They also found flames in the basement. Firefighters attacked the fire and conducted searches simultaneously on the first floor and in the basement.They found one person in the basement and pulled him out. He was taken to the hospital."

The fire was out by 10 p.m.


Dr. Bryan Johnson Named 2021 Tennessee Superintendent Of The Year

Latest Bradley County Arrest Report

Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News


In lieu of its annual awards banquet in Gatlinburg, the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) held a virtual awards banquet on Monday. During the event, Dr. Bryan Johnson of ... (click for more)

Click here for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)

We send out headlines each week day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Dr. Bryan Johnson Named 2021 Tennessee Superintendent Of The Year

In lieu of its annual awards banquet in Gatlinburg, the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) held a virtual awards banquet on Monday. During the event, Dr. Bryan Johnson of Hamilton County Schools, representing the Southeast region of Tennessee, was named as the 2021 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year. Dr. Johnson was selected for this honor out of a distinguished ... (click for more)

Latest Bradley County Arrest Report

Click here for the latest Bradley County arrest report. (click for more)

Opinion

From Exclusion To Inclusion: The Need For A New Chattanooga Way

Executive Summary: A New Chattanooga Way The Chattanooga renaissance that local leaders brag about took almost 40 years to reach fruition. It took risk. It took vision. It took billions of dollars. The physical renaissance is a farce if it fails to lift all Chattanoogans. The evidence in this report suggests the renaissance is incomplete. A New Chattanooga Way would include ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Thank You, Bill Zinkeler

There is one story in the Bible that I try to never forget. It’s the one where the Lord Jesus healed 10 lepers but only one came back with thanks. Man, forget those other nine … I strive to be the one who comes back. After all God has done in my life … I may fail again and again. I may be ‘a back-slider,’ and a disappointment to the Kingdom, but, brother, not thanking God every ... (click for more)

Sports

UTC Netters Earn 6-0 Doubles Mark At Central Arkansas Invitational

he University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's tennis team closed out the Central Arkansas Fall Invite with a 6-0 mark in doubles action today. The Mocs finished the first tournament of the season with a 6-3 record in doubles and 12-7 mark in singles. Freshman Jessie Young and junior Bogdana Zaporozhets teamed up a No. 1 to post wins over Louisiana-Monroe and Missouri State. ... (click for more)

McCreadie Denies Owens $30,000 Victory In Nebraska; Marlar Takes $20,059 Home To West Tennessee

Tim McCreadie (# 39) of Watertown, N.Y. beat Tennessean Jimmy Owens with four laps to spare Saturday night to win the I-80 Nationals worth $30,000. T-Mac's ceremoniously beating of his roof top was met by thunderous applause at I-80 Speedway as fans loudly approved of the fist pumped high in the air in Victory Lane. McCreadie was the last of four different race leaders that had ... (click for more)