A Chattanooga man is being credited with saving the life of a pregnant woman when fire broke out in her home at 1905 E. 13th Street. Andre Sharpe, 26, told firefighters that he and a friend spotted the fire around 1:30 p.m. Sharpe said a woman ran out of the burning house and said another woman was still inside. Sharpe said he tried to go in through the front door, but couldn't get to the woman, so he ran around toward the rear of the house and located the woman in a back bedroom. Sharp said he broke out the bedroom window with his fists, lifted the woman out the window and carried her to the front porch of a neighboring house.
The pregnant woman, identified as Angela Vasquez, 21, was transported by Hamilton County EMS to Erlanger Medical Center. Fire Investigator Andy Waters said the woman was being treated for relatively minor cuts and abrasions. Waters said she is five months pregnant. Mr. Sharpe was treated on the scene by paramedics for cuts to both hands. He declined to be transported to a hospital.
The Chattanooga Fire Department was notified of the fire at 1:39 p.m. and responded with several fire companies. Most had been on another fire call near Eastlake Courts, but several managed to get to the scene within six to seven minutes.
As the firefighters arrived, the house was almost completely engulfed in flames, and the fire was spreading to a neighboring house (see attached photos). Chattanooga firefighters worked to contain the blaze to the one house and save the other house next door. The house where the rescue occurred, including three vehicles parked close by, were considered a total loss.
Chattanooga police said they received initial reports of a disorder at the house before a fire was reported. Those reports of a disorder at the same address may or may not have anything to do with the cause of the fire, which is under investigation by Lt. Henry McElvain with the Fire Investigation Division.
The house reportedly had seven residents, including several children. Volunteers with the American Red Cross were called to the scene to provide assistance to the victims, including help with food, clothing and a temporary place to stay.
Written and photos by Bruce Garner