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12-13-2012 Update on Fire at 703 Caruthers Road


Captain Anthony Moore with the Fire Investigation Division said this morning that what exactly sparked the blaze that threatened the lives of four children remains undetermined.

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[Original Release]
November 27, 2012

Four Children Barely Escape House Fire

It was a close call for four children when fire raced through their home late this afternoon. The fire broke out around 5:00 p.m. at a two-story house located at 703 Caruthers Road. The younger children alerted the oldest, a 14-year-old male, that the house was on fire. Fire investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened, but all four children were apparently trapped on the second floor of the house. The 14-year-old reportedly kicked out a bedroom window, cutting a leg in the process, and got his brothers and sisters out onto the roof.

By then, neighbors and passing motorists were calling 911 Communications, reporting that children were trapped on the roof of a burning house. Patrol Officer Charles Decker with the Chattanooga Police Department was among the first on the scene, along with a passing motorist, Matt Evans. Assisted by two additional police officers, Trent Kilpatrick and Joshua Curtis, they ran around to the rear of the house where they saw the children on the roof.

The 14-year-old lowered the other children down to the four men, and then was helped down himself. Mr. Evans, who happens to be a surgical tech at Memorial Hospital, put a pressure dressing on the youth's leg to stem the bleeding. The youth and one of the younger children were then transported by Hamilton County EMS to Children's Hospital at Erlanger. Their injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

Meantime, Chattanooga firefighters had arrived on the scene. Battalion Chief Steve Swanson said the fire appears to have started on the first floor and then spread up to the second floor and attic. Flames were shooting out the windows and could be seen from miles away. It took five fire companies roughly 30 minutes to get the blaze under control. An estimate on the dollar loss was not available, but the damage to the house was extensive.

The father of the four children, who is renting the house, was apparently not home at the time of the fire. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Volunteers with the American Red Cross were called in to provide assistance to the family.

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