Small kitchen fire turns fatal - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Small kitchen fire turns fatal

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)  --  Chattanooga Fire crews quickly put out a kitchen fire Sunday afternoon, but were unable to save one of the men who lived in the home.

Gennell McDuffy lives across the street from the home. She watched as the scene unfolded. "Looking to see what was what. We're not use to stuff like this," McDuffy says.  

She was shocked to learn the man who lived there, Fred Wyatt, 56, died after he apparently tried to put out a grease fire in the kitchen. "I really didn't understand what was happening," says McDuffy.  

The outside of the home does not show any signs of damage but officials say it's what you can not see that took Wyatt's life. "You have common combustibles that are burning up including plastics and things like that. You're going to have things like carbon monoxide, even cyanide gas," says Chattanooga Fire Department Spokesman Bruce Garner.  

Garner says Wyatt, another man and two small children were out of the house when fire trucks got to the scene around 4:30 p.m. but Wyatt insisted on sitting on the porch. "They noticed that he was having trouble breathing," Garner says.  

Emergency officials were called, but by then it was too late. Wyatt collapsed as they tried to get him into an ambulance. "They administered CPR on the way to the hospital and he died sometime either in transit or at the hospital," says Garner.  

No one in the community thought a small kitchen fire would turn fatal, Wyatt's sudden death is felt by everyone. "I know they're a very nice family," McDuffy says.

It's not clear if Wyatt had other health issues. The Medical Examiner's Office says Wyatt died of apparent smoke inhalation.

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