January 19, 2013

Knoxville firefighters were able to save an autistic man who was injured in a house fire but the victim is in serious condition since he was rescued Friday night.

Navua Woods, age 25, was transported to the Burn Center on Vanderbilt University in Nashville. A spokesperson of the hospital said that the victim was plucked from a blazing room by a firefighter while he was trying to overcome the blaze and smoke in the process.

Woods was saved by Chris Medley, a Senior Firefighter but they were not able to pass through the front door of the Cumberland Estates at Deerfield 3916 Road due to the flame. Medley sounded his Mayday alarm as fellow firefighters immediately responded.

Knoxville Fire Department spokesperson, Capt. D.J. Corcoran said that ambulances delivered the residents of West Knoxville and the injured fire fighter to the Medical Center of the University of Tennessee. Corcoran added that Woods was suffering second- and third-degree burns up to 15% of his body.

Senior fire fighter Medley sustained first to second degree neck and ear burns; he was also given smoke inhalation treatment at the Medical Center of UT. He was made to spend overnight at the medical center for continued observation.

Since 2007, Medley has worked for Knoxville Fire Department and had been part of their many past challenging rescues.

Corcoran said that their investigator traced the beginning of the fire from an overheated thermostat-controlled wall heater placed in the bedroom in the first floor. It appeared that when the heater became very hot, it ignited the objects beside it.

It was after 9:35 o’clock in the morning when residents called 911 reporting the fire and that an autistic person was trapped inside. The first fire engine arrived in less than 2 minutes despite the icy and snow-filled roads.

When fire fighters arrived, they were informed of a person left inside the burning building. Corcoran said that fighters changed their mode from just fighting the fire to that of rescue.

In a fire, the primary goal of firemen is to save lives. So they have no fear entering burning buildings when people are trapped inside.

Medley was the first man who entered through the first door and made his way inside towards a bedroom at the back where he found Woods hiding.

Woods was not mobile so Medley had to carry a burden weighing 200 lbs across a burning room. He could no longer pass through the front door as it was already engulfed in flames. They were trapped in a hallway so at 9:35 o’clock that morning called Mayday on his radio.

The fire captain on Engine 17 responded and forced his way to the door with an attack line to help bring out the two men.

Medley collapsed in the front yard and was given oxygen while Woods was immediately rushed to the hospital.

The fire was such a big one as neighbors stated that it was shooting from15-20 feet from windows and the front door of the house.

Elizabeth Francis, age 32, who lives next door, said it was her 12-year-old son, who was playing outside who first saw the flames.

Francis said that family tried to bring out Woods but he got scared and locked himself inside the back room.

Woods lived in the house with his sister and her two children. Francis was surprised when she saw the two kids standing outside the house in bare feet and the mother was shivering in the cold. She gave them blankets to keep warm.

She also gave the children jackets and socks as everyone else was busy fighting the flames. Francis took the family to her house until other relatives arrived.

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Source: Knox News Com