published Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Cleveland firefighters rescue man in wheelchair from home

  • photo
    Cleveland, Tenn., firefighters battled their way through smoke Thursday night and carried a man in a wheelchair to safety from this Windsor Court home. Two other family members also got out safely. The man was airlifted to Erlanger hospital. Staff Photo by Randall Higgins/Chattanooga Times Free Press

CLEVELAND, Tenn.—City firefighters found and rescued an unconscious 72-year-old man in a wheelchair during a Thursday night fire that demolished his house.

An automatic alarm notified a 911 dispatcher to the fire at 3502 Windsor Circle NE at about 10:30 p.m., officials said. The first unit to arrive reported fire coming from the front of the house.

Two people escaped safely. After confirming another person still was inside, Lt. Pete VanDusen and firefighters Cody Hicks and Shaun McAmis entered the house, which fire officials said was filled with smoke.

VanDusen found the man.

“He was in the second room they searched,” Cleveland Fire Department Chief Chuck Atchley said Friday. “He was kind of slumped over in his wheelchair, and they realized he was in a bad way.”

The three firefighters removed the man from his wheelchair and carried him out of the burning house.

Bradley County Emergency Medical Service personnel made an initial assessment and treatment of his injuries. He was taken first to SkyRidge Medical Center here and then flown to Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga.

The man’s name and condition were not released Friday.

Lt. Donnie Sullivan said investigators are seeking to determine the fire’s cause.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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