published Friday, September 18th, 2009

Fire injures physically disabled UTC student after she is left in burning room

A UTC student suffered smoke inhalation and minor burn-related injuries after a small fire broke out in a bedroom at the UTC Place Apartments this morning.

UTC Campus Police and the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to the fire alarm in the 4000 Building of UTC Place Apartments around 3:20 a.m., according to Chuck Cantrell, assistant vice chancellor, university relations.

According to Bruce Garner, public information director with the Chattanooga Fire Department, the fire started in Apartment 4204 and appears to have involved a couple of blankets on the bedroom floor.

He said Jean Marie Lawrence, 22, who is physically disabled, was unable to get out of her bed.

Mr. Garner said an adult male was in the bedroom at the time, but he evidently ran out of the apartment when the fire broke out.

As the other students evacuated the five-story building, UTC police and security guards rushed to Ms. Lawrence's apartment and used a dry powder extinguisher to put the fire out.

Paramedics with Hamilton County EMS transported Ms. Lawrence to Erlanger hospital, where she was treated for smoke inhalation and a minor burn to one arm. Her injuries were not thought to be life-threatening, and she was expected to be treated and released.

Lt. Anthony Moore with the Fire Investigation Division commended the UTC security personnel for their quick actions.

“Our firefighters had not arrived yet and the flames were spreading to the victim’s bed,” said Lt. Moore. “If the UTC personnel had not put the fire out as quickly as they did, the victim would have had far more serious injuries.”

Lt. Moore said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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MountainJoe said...

"An adult male was in the bedroom at the time, but he evidently ran out of the apartment when the fire broke out."

Way to be a hero, champ. Save your own skin and to h*** with the handicapped girl ... let her burn.

September 18, 2009 at 12:34 p.m.
southbelle said...

While fear is reality, the cowardice shown by someone who is supposedly an adult, is ugly. Remember, this could have been one of your family members left to die a horrible death!

September 18, 2009 at 1:32 p.m.
slipnfallbutter said...

We are trying to get the Times to fix this article. The adult male who was supposedly seen running from the room actually saved everybody's life. He helped evacuate the other roommates and initially put out the fire before running to get help. There was nothing he could do for the girl until the fire was out because its location trapped her in her bed, and he wouldn't have been able to single handedly carry her out anyway. When he returned the fire had sparked back up and the UTC Police busted out the living room window which caused the fire to further rage.

September 18, 2009 at 2:07 p.m.
Procyon said...

The newspaper needs to check their sources. Why not ask the young lady what really happened? The young man actually was a hero in this incident. He thought quickly to extinguish the initial flame, got the 3 other roommates out of the dorm, ran to the RA. Really people! Handicapped girl. This is a person with a disability. She is a real person and is proud of her young man. Folks need to be more considerate to the parties involved.

September 18, 2009 at 3:17 p.m.
Salsa said...

The media never lets the facts get in the way of a good story.

September 18, 2009 at 4:21 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

Looks like the "hero" was the shoddy reporting by the TFP staff. My apologies to the young man in question ... from other, more reliable accounts he did all he could to help. And, in fact, proposed to the young lady in question afterward. So my bad for believing the story as written, congratulations to the happy couple, and jeers to the TFP for publishing a misleading account of events. Just as well I canceled my print subscription. Reading these articles on-line is no more enlightening, but it is cheaper....

September 23, 2009 at 11:07 p.m.
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