Man escapes injury in house fire after 2 men come to his aid

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

A structure fire severely damaged a city home on Thursday afternoon but the resident was uninjured after two men entered the burning building and helped him get to safety.

At roughly 4:30 p.m. Thursday, firefighters with the Elizabethton Fire Department responded to a house fire on the 1700 block of West Elk Avenue in Elizabethton. 

According to Elizabethton Fire Chief Barry Carrier, it took firefighters, who battled the blaze on the front and back sides of the house, 45 minutes to get the flames under control. 

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“The first arriving unit saw heavy smoke and flames from two sides of the second story and the roof,” Carrier said. 

The 120-year-old, two-story brick house, which is located beside Whitson Barber Shop, was once an antique shop but is now a private residence. The house sustained heavy damage to second story and roof. 

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but Carrier said that homeowner Richard Slagle stated that the home had been having electrical problems. 

Slagle, 73, was home at the time of the fire but was not harmed after Jon Whitson and his brother-in-law, Arnold Lane, entered the burning home and escorted Slagle from the premises. 

“We just took off running over there,” said Whitson, who owns the neighboring Whitson Barber Shop. “You could already see the smoke and flames by the time we got there.”

“We went in the back door and saw him in the bottom of the house. He didn’t want to leave. He has been there forever,” Whitson continued. “It was starting to get smoky. He didn’t even realize what was going on, but we convinced him to get out.”

Whitson said he has known Slagle for 20 years and was happy he was able to get out of the house safely.