UPDATE: House fire sends 3 firefighters to hospital
Three firefighters burned while battling a structure fire Monday morning have been released from the hospital.
Monday morning just minutes after participating in a memorial service at the Fireman's Fountain to kick off Fire Prevention Week, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire at 2813 4th Avenue at 10:44 a.m.
The first firefighters to arrive on the scene saw smoke and flames on the backside of the structure. They were told that someone might still be inside the house, which was split up into a residence on one side and a business on the other.
Firefighters quickly made their way inside to search for victims. They didn't find anyone inside, but while they were looking, it is believed they experienced a flashover. A flashover occurs when all of the combustible materials in a room or an enclosed space reach their ignition temperatures at the same time. It's not unlike an explosion and the temperatures in the room jump to 1,000 degrees or more.
With those extreme temperatures, even the firefighter's protective gear can fail. That may be what happened with this fire. Three firefighters sustained burns to their head, neck, arms and hands, and they were taken to Erlanger Medical Center.
The flames spread into the attic before firefighters could get the blaze under control, but they were able to save a good portion of the structure. An estimate on the dollar loss was not available. The cause of the fire is under investigation.