Three Tenn. Firefighters Burned While Searching Structure

Editor's note: This story was updated at 9:30 p.m. (ET)

Oct. 07--UPDATE: After being released from Erlanger this afternoon, one of the three Chattanooga firefighters injured in this morning's fire is now on the way to the burn unit at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville to receive follow-up care.

The other two firefighters were treated and released from Erlanger earlier today. The names of the firefighters are being withheld for now.

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Three Chattanooga firefighters received non-life threatening injuries while battling a blaze at 2813 Fourth Avenue just before 11 a.m. this morning.

Firefighters arrived on scene and learned that someone still might be inside the structure that is split with a residence on one side and a business on the other, according to Bruce Garner, public information officer for Chattanooga Fire Department.

Firefighters made entry into the building and did not find anyone. While looking for people, the possibly experienced a "flashover." A flashover is when combustible materials reach their ignition temperature at the same time, said Capt. Michael Wright in a released statement.

It's similar to an explosion. It can cause temperatures to jump to 1,000 degrees or more.

Protective gear worn by firefighters can fail in the extreme heat, Wright said.

Firefighters sustained burns to their head, neck, arm and hands. They were all taken to Erlanger hospital. Their conditions were still be assessed, but a paramedic noted the injuries did not appear to be life threatening. They answered the call just minutes after participating in firefighter memorial service at Fireman's Fountain on Georgia Avenue, Garner noted.

The flames spread to the attic and damaged much of the structure. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Copyright 2013 - Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

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