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01-16-2012 Smoke Alarms Save Chattanooga Couple


Upon arrival, Captain Andre Hicks said flames were shooting through the roof of the ranch-style home.

Captain Hicks said the raging fire was very difficult to get under control. He said the flames had spread into the attic, and then quickly moved across the top of the house. The firefighters were ordered to get out of the house for their own safety.

Moments later, Captain Hicks said the house appeared to be rocked by an explosion. Firefighters do not know what caused such an event, but it could have been the result of a backdraft. A backdraft is the explosion of heated gases that occurs when oxygen is introduced into a space within a burning building where the oxygen has been depleted by the fire.

Captain Anthony Moore with the Fire Investigation Division said the fire caused extensive damage to the house, with damages estimated at $275,000. The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported, thanks to working smoke alarms. Linton and Judy Gilruath told firefighters that they were asleep in bed when a smoke alarm at the other end of the house activated. They got up to investigate and when they discovered the house was on fire, they immediately got out and called 911. Volunteers with the American Red Cross were called in to provide assistance to the victims.

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