Woman dies after trying to save pets from house fire

Ridge Lane Firefighters

Firefighters battle a blaze at a Ridge Lane home on Wednesday. A woman who tried to save her pets from the fire died overnight. (Photo by Tom Scott)


Note: This story was last updated at 1:40 p.m.

The 65-year-old woman who was burned and seriously injured while trying to save her three pets from a house fire on Wednesday afternoon died overnight at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, authorities said.

Martha B. Bailey and Adra Denton of Oak Ridge had arrived at Bailey’s home at 131 Ridge Lane around 3 p.m. Wednesday after grocery shopping. When they opened the front door, the house burst into flames, and Bailey went in to try to rescue her dogs and cat, according to an Anderson County Sheriff’s Department incident report.

Denton tried to stop Bailey from entering the burning, single-story home, and eventually got her back to the front door, where she collapsed, Deputy Wiley A. Maloney reported.

Maloney and Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Gene Rose and Marlow Volunteer Fire Department Captain Zach Pressnell helped pull Bailey, who was still conscious but laying on the floor a few feet from the front door, from the house. Pressnell said fire was rolling out of the front door when he arrived, burning the eaves.

Maloney said Bailey had major burns covering her body, and her clothing had been burned off completely. He and Rose picked her up and moved her into the front yard away from the burning house, and they covered her with a wet coat that was near the front door, Maloney said. [Read more…]

Rescuers pull woman from house fire after she tries to save pets

Ridge Lane Home Fire

Two Anderson County deputies and a Marlow firefighter pulled a seriously injured woman out of this home, which was on fire on Ridge Lane on Wednesday afternoon. The woman had reportedly tried to rescue her pets from the fire. At right is Steve Newby, deputy chief of the Claxton Volunteer Fire Department, and at left is Marlow Volunteer Fire Department Captain Zach Pressnell, who helped pull the homeowner from the burning home.


Note: This story was last updated at 1:25 p.m. Nov. 20.

Two Anderson County deputies and a Marlow firefighter rescued a woman who was seriously injured trying to rescue her pets from a house fire on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

The woman, who has not been identified, was taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge and then flown by Lifestar helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. Her condition and age weren’t immediately available.

The woman was pulled out of the burning home at 131 Ridge Lane by Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Wiley Maloney, Reserve Deputy Gene Rose, and Marlow Volunteer Fire Department Captain Zach Pressnell. Pressnell said the woman was conscious but lay on the floor about five feet inside the single-story home, with fire rolling out of the front door and heavy smoke inside. [Read more…]

No one injured in fire at vacant home in Tacora Hills

Tacora Hills Fire

No one was injured in a fire that destroyed this vacant one-story brick house on Elm View Drive in Tacora Hills on November 9. (Photos by Tom Scott)


No one was injured in a fire that destroyed a vacant one-story brick house in Anderson County last week, authorities said.

The fire was reported at about 3:50 a.m. Sunday, November 9, at 302 Elm View Drive in Tacora Hills. That’s between Oak Ridge and Clinton just south of State Route 61, and just west of the Mariner Point subdivision.

The fire was through the roof when the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department arrived. The home and its contents were destroyed, said Stephanie Fox, assistant fire chief for the department. [Read more…]

Four City Council members say they’d like to be mayor

City of Oak Ridge Seal

Note: This story was updated at 3:03 p.m.

Four members of the new Oak Ridge City Council that starts Monday have announced that they would like to be mayor. One would like to also be considered for mayor pro tem.

The seven-member City Council, which has four new members, will appoint a mayor and mayor pro tem during its Monday night meeting. The City Council picks two of its members to serve as mayor and mayor pro tem after each municipal election every two years.

In letters to Council, current member Chuck Hope said he is interested in serving as mayor and so did City Council members-elect Rick Chinn and Warren Gooch.

Former City Council member Ellen Smith, who regained a seat in the November 4 election after an election loss two years ago, said she would like to be considered for mayor or mayor pro tem. Under the City Charter, the mayor pro tem presides at meetings when the mayor is absent or temporarily disabled. [Read more…]

Chinese supercomputer stays No. 1, Titan at ORNL still No. 2

Jeff Nichols and Titan at ORNL

Jeff Nichols, associate director for computing and computational sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in front of Titan, which was the world’s top supercomputer in November 2012 but is now ranked No. 2. (Photo courtesy of ORNL)


For the fourth consecutive time, Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, has retained its position as the world’s number one system. Meanwhile, Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was the top supercomputer in November 2012, remains number two.

Tianhe-2 is capable of performing at 33.86 petaflops, or 33.86 quadrillions of calculations per second, on a benchmark test known as Linpack.

The rankings are from the 44th edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, which was announced Monday in Mannheim, Germany; Berkeley, California; and Knoxville. Tianhe-2 has been in the top spot four consecutive times, and Titan has been number two each time. [Read more…]

Driver escapes before train hits pickup on railroad tracks

Pickup Truck and Train Crash on Dutch Valley Road

The driver escaped from this pickup truck before it was hit by a train on railroad tracks alongside Dutch Valley Road in Marlow on Sunday afternoon. (Photos by Tom Scott)


A driver was able to escape from a pickup truck before it was hit by a train on railroad tracks alongside Dutch Valley Road in Marlow on Sunday afternoon, a fire official said.

The Chevrolet S-10 pickup had apparently hit the ditch alongside Dutch Valley Road, went airborne, and landed on the tracks, where it was stuck, said Stephanie Fox, assistant chief for the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much time elapsed before the truck was hit by the train near Smith Road. The crash was reported at about 2:50 p.m. Sunday. [Read more…]

Goal-line stop saves Wildcats’ win, sends Oak Ridge to Class 5A quarterfinals

Oak Ridge Wildcats Tommy Kaczocha and Cleveland Blue Raiders

Oak Ridge safety Tommy Kaczocha (4) tackles Cleveland wide receiver Isaiah Beaty (10) in a 10-6 second round Class 5A playoff win at Blankenship Field on Friday night. Kaczocha, a senior, had five tackles, two assists, an interception, and a blocked pass. Also pictured is junior linebacker Adam Manookian (35), who led the Wildcats with eight tackles and 10 assists. (Photos by Julio Culiat) 


Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m.

The whole season boiled down to these last four plays. Down by only four points, Cleveland had the football on a first-and-10 at the Oak Ridge 11-yard line with 1:17 left to play.

The Wildcats were ahead 10-6, but the Blue Raiders only needed a touchdown to take the lead—and end Oak Ridge’s season in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.

But a crucial goal-line stop at Blankenship Field on Friday night preserved the win for the undefeated Wildcats. They now move on to the quarterfinals, playing against Rhea County at home next Friday and setting up a showdown between two 12-0 teams. [Read more…]

Alexander: World’s fastest supercomputer will again be at ORNL

Summit Supercomputing Press Conference

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, second from left, a Tennessee Republican, at a Friday morning press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, right; Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, center; and representatives Bill Foster and Dan Lipinski. (Submitted photo)


U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

Note: This story was last updated at 11:25 a.m.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory will have the world’s fastest next-generation supercomputer, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced at a Friday morning press conference with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said the new computer will provide five times the performance of Titan, the current system, and support advanced scientific and materials research to improve economic and national security.

The “next-generation hybrid supercomputer” will be called Summit, and it will be delivered in 2017, the senator said.

“Once again the world’s fastest computer will be in the United States, and once again it will be at Oak Ridge,” Alexander said. “Supercomputing has helped Tennessee become a center for advanced manufacturing with the arrival of new companies, including several in the auto industry, creating thousands of good-paying jobs. Tennessee can continue to thrive and create many more good jobs with the use of this new supercomputer.” [Read more…]

Four workers evaluated, released after electrical fire at Toxco

Oak Ridge Fire Department Fire Engine at Toxco

The Oak Ridge Fire Department responded to a small, intense electrical fire on Thursday morning at Toxco, a company that processes low-level radioactive waste. The fire was in a one-story metal building at the back of the company’s site on Flint Road.


Four workers were evaluated for minor respiratory issues and released after a small, intense electrical fire was reported at a company that repackages low-level radioactive waste in central Oak Ridge on Thursday morning, authorities said.

The fire at Toxco Materials Management Center on Flint Road was reported at about 11:03 a.m. Thursday. It was in a large one-story metal building at the back of the site, said Marty Griffith, Oak Ridge Fire Department battalion chief.

Electrical equipment inside the building was on fire, and the only way to put it out was to disconnect power, which the Oak Ridge Electric Department did, Griffith said. He said the area where the fire occurred is used to repackage waste, and it is fed by 440 volts of electricity.

Once the power was disconnected, firefighters were able to put out the fire with fire extinguishers. [Read more…]

Board orders demolition of Tyrone Road building, but Magic Wok excluded

Wender Building

A city board on Thursday ordered the demolition of this building on East Tyrone Road within 30 days. The Magic Wok restaurant, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building, is not affected.


Note: This story was last updated at 12:55 p.m. Nov. 14.

Despite a plea for another extension, a city board on Thursday ordered that a commercial building on East Tyrone Road be demolished within 30 days. The demolition order does not apply to the popular Magic Wok restaurant, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building.

The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals had previously given the building owners more time to develop a repair or demolition plan, including a five-month extension in June. At Thursday’s meeting, board members suggested they hadn’t seen enough work take place since then.

“I’m seeing very little progress,” said board member Joe Lee, who made the motion to demolish within 30 days, which is what the city staff had requested. “This has been an ongoing issue for a decade or more.”

The city staff said the partially occupied commercial structure has been declared unfit for human occupation or use because of code violations, and a demolition deadline expired Thursday. The staff said the estimated cost of repairs exceeds 50 percent of the building’s value, which is an important benchmark for issuing a demolition order. The staff has said the building is in a state of disrepair, lacks adequate fire and panic exits, and the roof and interior have not been adequately maintained for several years.

The motion to demolish the building at 123 and 135 East Tyrone Road was approved in a 6-0 vote on Thursday. Voting in favor of that motion were Chair Bruce LeForce, Vice Chair Philip Nipper, Secretary Amy Seiber, Lee, and board members Phil Yager and Leonar Vaughen. Board member Aaron Wells was not present. [Read more…]

More than 8,000 cubic feet of natural gas leaked into former Kroger on Tuesday

Kroger Gas Leak and ORFD and ORUD

Businesses around the former Kroger grocery store on South Illinois Avenue were evacuated on Tuesday afternoon after a gas leak was reported.


If it had exploded, the 8,500 cubic feet of natural gas that leaked into the former Kroger grocery store on South Illinois Avenue on Tuesday could have had a devastating impact on the shopping center and blown out windows in nearby businesses, possibly even across the street, a city official said Wednesday.

“Had it exploded, we would have been on national news,” Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said. “It could have been devastating for all the businesses in that complex.”

Authorities suspect that the gas slowly flowed into the 30,000-square-foot grocery store starting Tuesday morning through an uncapped gas line that was once connected to an oven.

By the time emergency workers responded to a report of a gas leak on Tuesday afternoon, Kerley said, “the store was almost completely filled with a dangerous concentration of natural gas.” [Read more…]

After rough first quarter, Wildcats warm up in 70-54 season-opener

Oak Ridge Wildcats Geevantay Gee and Grace Christian

Junior guard Geevantay Gee (12), the only returning starter to play in the season-opener, scored the only points for the Wildcats during the first quarter against Grace Christian on Tuesday, but the rest of the team played better in the next three quarters and Oak Ridge won 70-54.


KARNS—They had a rough start in the season-opener on Tuesday, but the relatively young Oak Ridge Wildcats improved after the first quarter and turned a 12-point deficit into a 70-54 win.

Junior point guard Geevantay Gee, the only returning starter to play in the season-opener at Grace Christian in Karns, scored the only points for the Wildcats during the first quarter—seven total. Meanwhile, the Rams started hot and quickly racked up 19 points.

But after their nerves calmed, the Wildcats started defending better—stepping up their pressure and forcing turnovers—and their performance improved. For example, Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said, the Wildcats had two assists at the half, and Gee alone had five in the second.

After giving up 19 points in the first quarter, the Wildcats held the Rams to 35 total in the next three. Green said he thought Grace Christian became fatigued. [Read more…]