Infant dies from Maude St. house fire
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- A house fire claims the life of an infant.
It happened around 11 am on Maude Street.
A second child and a babysitter are in critical condition.
The landlord says he just rented this home to a woman and her two children this week. But the woman that was with the kids Saturday morning wasn't their mother. Authorities believe she was babysitting.
"I came on my front porch and I saw fire and smoke coming out through the front of the house," says Edward Woodgett.
Edward Woodgett lives directly next door from the home at 70 Maude Street.
"I went next door to try to see if anyone was in there and I heard children crying," says Woodgett.
Woodgett called 911, then picked up a five gallon bucket, filled it with water and started attacking the blaze before fire trucks arrived.
"I wanted to kick the front door open, but there was so much fire and smoke that I couldn't and about that time the front window blew out," says Woodgett.
When Tina Cheeks returned home around noon, she found her street blocked by police cars and fire trucks.
"They were new people, they just moved in and seemed to be real friendly," says Cheeks.
Minutes before, firefighters removed a woman and two small children from the home.
"The first firefighter in the lead was feeling on the floor and found an infant on the floor," says Chattanooga Fire spokesperson Bruce Garner.
The second child was found on a bed, all three in a back bedroom.
The victim's were immediately taken outside and put in an ambulance, but it was too late for the younger child.
Upon arrival at Erlanger, the baby was pronounced dead.
For Edward Woodgett and his Maude Street neighbors, it's a hard reality to face.
"It's something tragic. Only thing I can say is it's in the hands of the Lord. I feel sorry for the people, you know, but there just wasn't anything I could do," says Woodgett.
"It's real tragic, my heart goes out to the family," says Cheeks.
Officials still haven't released the victim's names or ages of the children, but neighbors tell Eyewitness News they were very young, around two or three.
The older child is at T.C. Thompson's.
The babysitter was first taken to Erlanger, but is expected to be transported to a burn center in Augusta, Georgia.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.