Strong winds Wednesday afternoon fed the flames when fire broke out in a house at 902 Wheeler Avenue shortly before 2 p.m.
Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said light smoke was showing when the first firefighters arrived. When the firefighters forced their way inside the house with hand-held hoselines, the fire was initially difficult to locate because the visibility was so low.
Moments later, flames blew out a front window. Captain Scott Pell, the incident commander, said high winds blew in through the open window, fanning the flames. One firefighter said it was as if the fire turned into a blow torch.
With temperatures soaring inside, one firefighter received relatively minor burns to his neck, face and arms. He was removed from the house and handed off to paramedics with Hamilton County EMS, who transported him to a local hospital. Though his burns are not life threatening, he is expected to be taken to the the burn unit at Vanderbilt Hospital on Thursday for further evaluation.
With the high winds making it more difficult to put the fire out, the incident commander called for a total of five fire companies to respond. The firefighters got the blaze under control in roughly 15 minutes, containing the fire damage to a couple of rooms. With some of the wiring damaged by the fire, EPB was asked to cut power to the house.
Captain Suttles said one woman lived in the house, but she was not home at the time of the fire.
Volunteers with the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee were called in to provide assistance to the victim. Chattanooga police also provided assistance on the scene with traffic control.
An estimate on the loss was not available. The cause of the fire is under investigation.