Off-duty firefighter helps save pets from house fire

Published 11:19 am Monday, December 8, 2014

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After driving by a home and noticing smoke coming from the structure, an off-duty Elizabethton Fire Department firefighter called 911 and helped the man inside the home save his pets from the home.
Emergency responders were dispatched to the home at 1218 Broad Street shortly before 10 a.m. for what was believed to be a chimney fire. However, after the first firefighters arrived on the scene, it was determined the fire had spread outside the chimney and additional firefighters were called to the scene.
Off-duty EFD fireman Shane Clawson was driving by on Broad Street Friday morning when he noticed smoke coming from the home.
“I noticed a lot of smoke was coming out of the home,” Clawson said. “I told my wife something doesn’t look right.”
Clawson stopped and went to the door of the house where he found resident Bobby Winters inside trying to extinguish flames coming out of the chimney with buckets of water.
Clawson said smoke was quickly filling the home so the attention turned to getting the pets; three dogs and birds in a cage, out of the home.
By this time, Elizabethton Police Department officers and Fire Marshal Jack Buckles were on the scene and were trying to help rescue the pets from the home.
Clawson said he grabbed the bird cage and got it from the home, while Winters, Buckles and EPD Sgt. Curtis Bullock worked together to get the three dogs from the home.
Winters and Bullock were treated for smoke inhalation on the scene after the rescue effort.
Buckles said the cause of the fire would be ruled as “an unattended fire.” Firefighters examined the home’s chimney and found it was not blocked. Buckles said it appeared the fire may have been too large for the fire place and something on the mantle had sparked.
The fire damaged the mantle and burned a spot on the ceiling over the fireplace. Smoke damage was found in other rooms in the home.

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