Grandfather Dies in Chattanooga House Fire

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 3/25/2013 7:13 pm
Chattanooga fire fighter, Rob Campbell, could only watch as his co-workers battled this blaze at his parents home.

Campbell, adds, "My mom got up, she heard a popping and crackling noise, went to the kitchen."

She saw flames on their back porch, so she ran to her husband, and he quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher.

Campbell says, "When he opened the sliding glass door, smoke just poured in."

Meanwhile, Campbell's mother woke up her 95-year-old father, Z.M. Tussey.

He stayed there a few nights a week, when he wasn't at his Brainerd home.

Campbell adds, "It took a little while. He got up. She thought he was moving, she went back to check on my dad."

With singed hair, they eventually went back for Tussey a second time, but they didn't get very far before flames pushed them out once and for all.

Bruce Garner, with the Chattanooga Fire Department, says, "When the roof started collapsing in on the fire fighters, the order was given to get out for their safety."

When fire fighters could make their way inside, they found Tussey in a hallway near the front door.

He died from smoke inhalation.

Campbell says, "My father got a lot of smoke, and he's going through lung cancer treatment right now."

But Campbell says his father, as well as his mother will be alright.

Garner adds, "They're going through evidence right now. They're going through what caused the fire at this point."

But knowing, Campbell says, will not bring his grandfather back.

As he stares at the spot where his grandfather once slept, he remembers a full life.

Tussey was a grocery store manager before he retired, but above all else, Campbell says, he loved his family.

"His whole life was his kids, his grandchildren, and great grandkids. They just meant the world to him, says Campbell.

Campbell tells us his parents are staying with neighbors at the moment.

They did have insurance.

Officials say this is the first fire-related fatality since 2011.

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