Chattanooga fire victim meets rescuers

Chattanooga fire victim meets rescuers

December 11th, 2017 by Staff Report in Local Regional News

Firefighter Joel Nix comforts Carrie Gann after Gann suffered a panic attack when Chattanooga Fire Station 20's engine had to turn on their sirens and leave to respond to an emergency from Cummings Highway on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. "When I hear sirens, I'm back in that dark room suffocating," Gann says about the attack. When firefighters pulled Gann from the bedroom of her Centro Street home, where she had been trapped by the blaze, on September 20, she was in critical condition, and rescuers were doubtful she would survive. She spent 5 days at Vanderbilt Medical center, but Gann recovered from her ordeal and met with her rescuers Saturday to thank them for saving her life. She says she plans to get a tattoo of the fire house emblem with the names of the three firefighters, Nix, Matt Rorex and Ryan Swisher, who saved her life. Gann says her only lingering regret is the loss of her two dogs in the fire. "My kids have always been four-pawed," she says, because her lifelong diabetes has prevented her from having children.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

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On the morning of Sept. 20, 45-yearold Carrie Gann's home on Centro Street caught fire. Trapped in her room, she called 911, and dispatcher Stephanie McCarter told her to lie low and cover her mouth and nose with fabric, cutting out as much smoke as possible.

Even so, she lost consciousness. But firefighters Joel Nix, Matt Rorex and Ryan Swisher carried her to safety. On Saturday, she met the team that saved her life.

"They didn't think I would even make it," she said. "So me standing here means a lot."

She spent five days at Vanderbilt Medical center, but recovered from her ordeal and thanked her rescuers Saturday for saving her life.

She said she plans to get a tattoo of the firehouse emblem with the names of the three firefighters who saved her life.

Gann said her only lingering regret is the loss of her two dogs in the fire. "My kids have always been four-pawed," she said.


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