published Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Fire, medical personnel draw praise

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The rescue of an elderly man in a wheelchair from a burning house Thursday night was recognized Monday by members of the Bradley County Commission.

Efforts by the Cleveland Fire Department and the Bradley County Emergency Medical Service to get the 72-year-old man from the burning structure were lauded by Commissioner Mark Hall.

“It was an automatic 911 alarm, and the Cleveland Fire Department [members] responding to the call did not even have time to put on their air packs,” Hall said.

Hall asked the county to prepare a proclamation honoring the rescuers.

After three firefighters carried the man through the flames, county emergency medical workers took over.

EMS Director Danny Lawson explained the procedure used to save the unidentified man’s life.

“We carried two patients from the scene,” Lawson said. A third ambulance remained at the scene for firefighters’ safety.

Three people were at the house when the fire alarm was activated. Two escaped on their own.

When Cleveland Fire Department Engine Four arrived, Lt. Pete VanDusen and firefighters Cody Hicks and Shaun McAmis entered to search through heavy smoke for the remaining victim. They carried him outside where County EMS personnel Chris Painter, Joel Morrison and Jada Kersey were ready.

The man since has been released from Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga.

Contact Randall Higgins at or 423-314-1029.

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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