UPDATE: Family friends raise money for fire victims in Red Bank - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Family friends raise money for fire victims in Red Bank

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RED BANK, HAMILTON COUNTY -

UPDATE: Family friends of a Red Bank couple who lost their home to a fire are trying to help them get back on their feet. It happened on Friday on Bitsy Lane.

The fire claimed the life of a 49-year-old man who was renting a room from the couple. Police said it's being investigated as a suicide and arson.

Firefighters said the home appeared to be a total loss. Now, family friends are raising money through gofundme to help them buy clothes and other basic living needs.

"They would do it for us. They would do it for anybody. Anybody in need, they would reach out. They would do whatever it took to try make things right as best as possible," Sam Durham, a family friend said.

Fire officials report the damages at $175,000.


UPDATE:  Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol tells Channel 3 that Friday's death has been ruled as a suicide and arson.

A news release from Christol says that examination of evidence and review of the preliminary autopsy results from the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office, police determined the death to be a suicide and arson.

The home appears to be totaled, there does not appear to have been any other injuries associated with this event.

An early morning house fire in Red Bank has claimed the life of a 50-year-old man Friday. The home's owner, Larry Bullington told Channel 3 that he was able to safely escape the blaze, but a renter at the home had not been accounted for after the fire. 

Bullington says he tried to open the door to the basement to save the man, but the fire was already too intense.

Amy Maxwell, spokesman for Hamilton County EMS says, the body was discovered as firefighters were mopping up the fire's aftermath and assessing the damage.

"They went into the residence and did find a body downstairs in the basement area. Fire officials can confirm that we did have a fire fatality here in Red Bank," Maxwell said.

Maxwell, says the death is being investigated as a fire fatality. Red Bank police are working to contact the deceased man's family.

Investigators on scene believe the fire began in the basement, then ripped through the rest of the home, including the owner's art studio.

"You know this is how I make my living, my studio is attached to the home so we lost that income as well," Bullington said.

In addition to their home, the Bullington's also lost a truck in the fire. The Red Cross is providing shelter for the family temporarily. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Emergency crews were called to an overnight house fire. It happened in the 600 block of Bitsy Lane in Red Bank just after 12:30 a.m. Friday morning.

Walden's Ridge Emergency Services and Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department were called to help. 

A homeowner called 911 to report a fire at his residence with heavy fire coming from the attic and the back of the house. The homeowner reported to fire officials he awoke to loud popping noises.

Due to the nature of the blaze, the Red Bank Fire Department called for additional aide. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services, Soddy Daisy Fire Department and Dallas Bay VFD also responded to the scene.

Firefighters say they used a "defensive attack" due to a structural collapse on the back side of the home.

The homeowner tells Channel 3 he was able to escape without injury, but it’s not clear if a renter made it out safely.

Officials on scene say the house is a total loss. Fire officials reporting damages at $175,000.

The cause of the fire is undetermined and will be under investigation by Red Bank Fire Department. 

Count on Channel 3 and stay with WRCBtv.com for the latest.

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