published Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Chattanooga Fire Department remembers fallen

Fire Marshall William Matlock speaks during an annual placing of the wreath ceremony at the Fireman's Memorial Fountain in downtown Chattanooga on Monday.
Fire Marshall William Matlock speaks during an annual placing of the wreath ceremony at the Fireman's Memorial Fountain in downtown Chattanooga on Monday.
Photo by Dan Henry.

After kicking off fire safety week and remembering fallen Chattanooga firefighters, three current city firefighters landed in the hospital with burns after responding to a house fire Monday.

Just before 11 a.m. Monday, a house fire broke out at a home on Fourth Avenue. Across town, Chattanooga fire officials and firefighters were honoring fallen members with a wreath-placing ceremony at the Fireman's Fountain on Georgia Avenue.

At the fountain, they heard the fire call and responded.

"It is ironic that as we wrapped up our ceremony at the Fireman's Fountain, that we received an alarm for a fire at East Lake," said Bruce Garner, public information officer at the Chattanooga Fire Department.

Firefighters found a home at 2813 Fourth Ave. ablaze. They were told that someone may have been inside.

While firefighters searched the home, the building experienced a "flashover," according to a statement prepared by Capt. Michael Wright. A flashover occurs when combustible materials reach their ignition temperatures at the same time.

A flashover is similar to an explosion, and when it happens, temperatures can reach 1,000 degrees or more. Wright said the protective gear firefighters wear can fail from the strain of temperatures that intense.

Three city firefighters were caught in a potential flashover Monday and sustained burns which led to their hospitalization. They were treated and released by Monday evening, but Garner said two of them may require additional treatment for severe burns. He said the department would know within 24 hours.

The firefighters' names had not been released Monday evening.

Having three city firefighters caught in a potentially deadly situation was not the way Garner imagined Fire Prevention Week kicking off, but he said it was good reminder about the week's importance.

"The timing really hit how dangerous the job is for firefighters," he said.

The Chattanooga Fire Department has not lost a firefighter during active duty since 2007.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

about Alex Green...

Alex Green joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 after completing the paper's six-month, general assignment reporter internship. Alex grew up in Dayton, Tenn., which is also where he studied journalism at Bryan College. He graduated from Rhea County High School in 2008. During college, Alex covered the city of Graysville and the town of Spring City for The Herald-News. As editor-in-chief of Bryan College's student news group, Triangle, Alex reported on ...

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