UPDATE: One of two men identified in deadly house fire in Dunlap - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: One of two men identified in deadly house fire in Dunlap

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DUNLAP, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: A morning house fire in Dunlap claimed the lives of two men Saturday. 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has identified one of the victims as 20 year old, Andrew Gardner.

 The other individual has not yet been identified.

Police tell Channel 3 that firefighters responded to the home in the 200 block Houston Street about 5:45am CT to find the home fully engulfed in flames.

Investigators believe the fire started in the home's kitchen.

TBI, Commerce and Insurance Fire Investigative Services, Dunlap Police Department, Dunlap Fire Department and the Sequatchie County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the fire. Fire crews from the Dunlap Fire Department and Pikeville Fire Department assisted in extinguishing the blaze.

It took crews about an hour to put the fire out.

Dunlap fire chief, Norman Hatfield, says Gardner and the other victims were the ones inside the home at the time. However, two dogs also perished in the fire.

Timmy Smith, who was visiting in sister-in-law across the street from the house fire, says he heard screaming.

"I went back there to lay down and I thought I kept hearing somebody screaming and stuff and then my sister-in-law came in there and I turned the TV down and she came out here and I followed her out, and the house  was up in flames," Smith says. "They kept saying; hollering Logan and I just thought you know a kid. That's the first thing that popped in my mind."

After that, he ran to help.

"The door; living room door was slightly open so I was trying to get in it and by the time I got in there it just exploded and blew me right back out."

Smith says when he got out he and several others called 911.

But the fact that the two men didn't survive is something Smith says he's struggling with.

"That's hard. that's the hardest part. If they got here quicker I believe they could've maybe saved them," Smith says.

The bodies of both victims will be sent to the Medical Examiner’s office in Nashville for autopsies.

The cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the death remains active and ongoing.

According to the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO), most fires start in the kitchen, as cooking is the leading known cause of reported home fires, civilian injuries, and property loss in Tennessee for the fifth consecutive year.

In 2015, 29 percent of reported home structure fires in Tennessee involved cooking equipment. Of those 2,077 fires there were seven fatalities, 44 civilian injuries, and over $11 million of direct property damage, according to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System.

Here's some tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on how to stay safe in the kitchen:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
  • If you must leave the room, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • When you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
  • To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert. You will not be alert if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol, or have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy.
  • If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three away from the stove.
  • When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting sleeves or roll sleeves up.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire–oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, curtains–away from your stove top.
  • Clean up food and grease from burners and stove tops.
  • If a small pan fire occurs, put on an oven mitt and carefully slide the pan’s lid, or a cookie sheet, onto the pan to smother the flames. Turn off the burner and do not remove the lid until the pan is completely cool. Never pour water on a grease fire!
  • When in doubt, just get out! If the fire is large or you do not feel comfortable smothering it with the lid, quickly exit the home and call the fire department. Close doors behind you to try to contain the fire.  

Stay with WRCB and WRCBtv for more updates on this developing story.

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