Man dies trying to save dogs from house fire in Chattanooga early Tuesday

Image: Chattanooga Fire Dept.


On Wednesday, the Chattanooga Fire Department identified the victim as 54-year-old Michael Pearson. Pearson's death is the first fire-related fatality in Chattanooga of the year. The Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office says smoke inhalation was the primary cause of Pearson's death.

The fire caused extensive damage to the house, with the dollar loss estimated at $234,000.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


The Chattanooga Fire Department says a man has died in a house fire on Igou Gap Road early Tuesday.

Firefighters were called to the 8600 block of Igou Gap Road around 2:21a.m.

Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner says four people were inside the home when the fire broke out. Three of them made it out.

Our crew on the scene reports that the victim was trying to save his dog. Both the man and his dog did not survive.

Lt. Justin McCommon said firefightters went into rescue mode, with two firefighters entering through the front door and another two entering through the garage. As the fire grew more intense and broke through the roof, the firefighters had to discontinue their search and pull out of the house. Shortly after they came back out of the structure, the roof collapsed.

Battalion Chief Brandon Schroyer, the incident commander, called for a second alarm response to bring in more personnel and equipment. As additional fire companies arrived on the scene, the firefighters used hand-held hoselines and a master stream from an aerial above to eventually bring the fire under control. The house was considered a total loss.

Once most of the fire had been put out, firefighters located body of a man at the doorway between the kitchen and garage. Family members told firefighters that the man stayed behind to get their pet dogs out. Two of those dogs died in the blaze. A third dog firefighters found on the scene was showing signs of smoke inhalation. They administered oxygen to the dog and it appeared to recover quickly.

Authorities have not released the name of the victim.

Chattanooga firefighters tell our crew on the scene flames could be seen for miles, and that investigators suspect that gas could have played a role in the high and hot flames.

As of 6 a.m., Igou Gap Road is closed while firefighters investigate.

We have a crew on the scene getting more information. Watch live updates on Good Morning Chattanoog here.

Depend on us to bring you updates as we get them.

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