Cleveland firefighters rescue man in wheelchair from home

Cleveland firefighters rescue man in wheelchair from home

March 19th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

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.