Three engines and two ladder trucks from the Johnson City Fire Department responded to a house fire on East Watauga Avenue Thursday afternoon, according to Capt. Steve Weaver.
Weaver said the fire department received the call about the house fire at approximately 4:24 p.m. When they arrived at the residence, 1407 E. Watauga Ave., Weaver said heavy smoke and fire were visibly coming out in the middle of the left side of the house.
“The fire ... was coming out the windows on that side,” Weaver said. “A gentlemen came running up and said that his aunt was still in there (the residence), so the same time we were putting out the fire we were also searching for victims. We located her at the rear of the structure on the ... right hand rear corner. She was at the back window ... and was yelling for help. We had to break in the back door, which had a set of bunk beds in front of it and had to shove those out of the way to get back to her.”
He said the woman, who had succumbed to the smoke when firefighters reached her, was given oxygen on scene and that she was talking to personnel and had good vitals. She was taken to the Johnson City Medical Center for further treatment for smoke inhalation.
Weaver said the fire was controlled and extinguished quickly by fire personnel.
“They did a fantastic job of getting water on the fire quickly and also doing a search quickly and getting the lady out of the house. They also rescued a dog and saved a guinea pig, too,” he said. “The fire was pretty much contained to one room. Most of the structure, especially on the left side, has heavy smoke and fire travel across the ceiling. The whole left side is burned up.”
Weaver said an estimated total of 11 people, three adults and eight children, reside at the home, but only one person, the fire victim, was inside during the fire.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.