UPDATE: House fire on Milne Street leaves woman homeless - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: House fire on Milne Street leaves woman homeless

Posted: Updated:
Photo by WRCB photojournalist Lee Broome. Photo by WRCB photojournalist Lee Broome.
Photo courtesy of the Chattanooga Fire Department. Photo courtesy of the Chattanooga Fire Department.
Photo courtesy of the Chattanooga Fire Department. Photo courtesy of the Chattanooga Fire Department.

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Scary moments in east Chattanooga Friday afternoon, when fire broke out in an elderly woman's home.

Neighbors believed the 79-year-old woman was still inside the home on Milne Street when the fire started around 3 p.m.

It took fire crews 30 minutes to get the blaze under control.

"There were flames shooting ten feet out of the windows," says Tommy Carroll.

Tommy Carroll was driving down Milne Street Friday, when he saw flames.

"Fear, fear, a lot of fear," Carroll says. "I thought there was a lady in there."

Neighbors thought 79-year-old Marie Swafford was still inside.

It wasn't until firefighters arrived they realized Swafford wasn't home.

"They broke the door down and went inside," Carroll says. "A few minutes later, about ten minutes later the lady came walking down the street."

"I was coming back home and we saw the smoke," Swafford says. "I didn't know where it was coming from."

Swafford stood on the sidewalk in disbelief as five fire companies battled the blaze.

Her dog was saved, but most of her belongings were not.

"I don't know if it's anything fixable or not," says Swafford.

Fire crews say it's too soon to tell how much damage the fire caused or how it started.

"The flames were getting into the walls and up into the attic," fire spokesman, Bruce Garner says. "It caused a lot of damage before the firefighters were able to get the fire out."

They, like neighbors, are just glad Swafford wasn't home when it started.

"We're just relieved that nobody was in the house at the time," says Garner.

"If she had been in there and the fire wouldn't have gotten to her the smoke would," Carroll says. "That house was fully engulfed in smoke."

The American Red Cross was called in to help Swafford by replacing medications and food, and providing a temporary place to stay.

Swafford, who lived alone, says she hopes her church can help find her a new place to live.

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