Fire at Jaycee Towers Sends Elderly Man to the Hospital; Displaces Four

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 11/21/2013 6:42 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF)- Billy Belcher, a resident at Jaycee Towers, says, "I just walked out the door and smelled smoke."

If it wasn't for that smell and quick thinking residents at Jaycee Towers, Lucy and her owner Frank Brannon, 63, might not be here today.

Sandra Gordon, another resident at Jaycee Towers, adds, "Definitely saved his life and the dog's life just by responding, going in, and getting him out of the bed."

Gordon lives 9 floors away from where the fire started.

Gordon adds, "He was smoking in bed and fell asleep."

A next door neighbor and the building manager rushed to the 5th floor just before 9 a.m.

Bruce Garner with the Chattanooga Fire Department, says, "They opened the door and it was full of smoke, but at some point they managed to get to the victim and get him out of the room."

Gordon adds, "They took him by ambulance right away."

That elderly victim suffered second and third degree burns on his hip and smoke inhalation.

Gordon tells us Brannon had health issues and used a wheelchair.

Now, the sprinkler unit did a good job putting the fire out, but along with that put out four other residents.

Pools of water that still linger hours later.

Garner adds, "There was a fair amount of water damage from the sprinkler activation and the water actually went from the 5th floor all the way to the lobby on the ground floor."

The building manager would not let us go up to the damaged apartments, but you can see these ceiling tiles are an instant reminder of all the work that still needs to be done so residents can move back in.

Gordon adds, "Scary. The buildings built good to where it has concrete walls. It wasn't going to spread real bad, but its still scary."

Gordon is taking care of Lucy for the time being, and is actually contemplating not smoking after seeing all of the damage.

The Chattanooga Fire Department just confirmed Brannon was smoking while using an oxygen mask.

He is currently in stable condition at Erlanger.
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