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Knoxville man & firefighter injured during challenging rescue

6:38 PM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
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Fire investigators have determined the fire started around a downstairs wall mounted heater with an automatic thermostat which turns on when the temperature drops below a predetermined setting on the unit.

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A 25-year-old man and a firefighter are being treated at the hospital following a house fire Friday morning on the 3900 block of Deerfield Rd. in Northwest Knoxville.

According to KFD spokesperson Captain DJ Corcoran, a woman, her two adult children, and two grandchildren, aged 9 and 5, were inside the house when the fire started.  Corcoran also said the 911 call came in as a "child was trapped" and the family couldn't get him out. 

When crews arrived on scene, they were told a 25-year-old man with autism was still inside the home.

Firefighters went inside the burning home to locate the man. Senior Firefighter Chris Medley found the man in a bedroom, but then both men became trapped by the fire and could not get out on their own. 

Corcoran said that Medley went through the front door of the burning home, up the stairs, and found the victim in a back bedroom. Corcoran said the victim became "combative with the firefighter (Medley). He knocked the firefighter's mask and helmet off" during the struggle.  The advancing fire trapped the men, and Medley had to issue a "mayday" call for help.

Engine 17's captain led other firefighters in the attack to fight the fire back enough so that Medley and the victim could escape.  Both Medley and the victim suffered burns and smoke inhalation.

The victim has been transferred to Vanderbilt Medical Center to be treated for 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 15% of his body. Medley suffered minor burns to his neck and ears. He remains at UT Medical Center, is alert and in stable condition, and is expected to be released in a day or so.

Fire Investigators say the fire started around a downstairs wall mounted heater with an automatic thermostat which turns on when the temperature drops below a predetermined setting on the unit.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family members

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A 10News crew on scene of a house fire on the 3900 block of Deerfield Rd. says the house is a loss and a firefighter was injured rescuing a child out of the flames.

Few other details are known at this time. 

Stay with 10News and wbir.com for more information as it becomes available.

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