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 1:50 p.m. Nov. 23.

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

Martha Babb 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, which is in Orchard Knob subdivision in Anderson County, burst into flames. Denton called 911 to report the fire, and Bailey ran into the burning home to try to rescue two dogs and a cat, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White said.

But Bailey’s clothes caught fire, and she collapsed in the living room, White said. Denton was unable to reach her and called 911 again to say her friend was trapped in the burning single-story home. [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 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…]

No one injured in apartment kitchen fire

Wakefield Road Apartment Fire

No one was injured in a kitchen fire on Monday evening at an apartment complex on Wakefield Road. The fire was reported at about 5:48 p.m. Monday in the apartment at 103D Wakefield Road, which is on the far right of the building pictured above.


No one was injured in a kitchen fire on Monday evening in an apartment on Wakefield Road.

The fire was reported at 5:48 p.m. Monday, Oak Ridge Assistant Fire Chief Josh Waldo said. No one was home at the time.

Waldo said firefighters are still trying to determine the cause, but the small fire might have started on the stove. It destroyed the stove and damaged a few cabinets, but was confined to the kitchen and caused minimal smoke damage, Waldo said. He estimated the total damage at about $2,500. [Read more…]

Car once owned by ‘Sound of Music’ actor catches fire in OR

Glenn Bell Car Fire Sound of Music

A 1965 Studebaker station wagon once owned by Dan Truhitte, who played the German officer Rolfe in “The Sound of Music” in 1965, caught fire in Oak Ridge on Friday. Above Oak Ridge Fire Department firefighter Steven London, left, sprays water on the bottom side of the four-door wagon. At right is ORFD firefighter Sandra Sila-Massengill.


A classic car once owned by an actor in “The Sound of Music” movie caught fire in Oak Ridge on Friday afternoon.

Oak Ridge resident Glenn Bell, who now owns the car, smelled gas as he left a doctor’s appointment at Jackson Square Plaza in the green 1965 Studebaker four-door station wagon early Friday afternoon. Bell decided to head home.

As he turned onto Tyler Road from Oak Ridge Turnpike, he saw smoke under the hood and dash, and he jumped out. The car rolled a short distance to the intersection of Tyler and Talmeda roads. [Read more…]

Fallen tree branch causes small electric line fire

Electric Line Fire on North Seneca Road

A fallen tree limb knocked down a power line on Friday night, starting a small fire in a yard on North Seneca Road.


A fallen tree limb knocked down a power line from a utility pole on Friday night, starting a small electric fire in a yard at 150 North Seneca Road.

The Oak Ridge police and fire departments blocked the road until the Oak Ridge Electric Department was able to respond and shut off the power.


The fire was reported at about 11:30 p.m. Friday. It burned for about an hour but did not spread, and firefighters and police officers kept an eye on it while they waited for the power crew.

See another picture here:

[Read more…]

Fifty evacuated, one treated after small fire at Callaghan Towers

Robert Burk and Jean Rivera Evacuation

Oak Ridge Fire Department firefighter and paramedic Robert Burk, right, evacuates Jean Rivera, a resident of the six-story Frank Callaghan Towers on Fairbanks Road after a small fire on Thursday afternoon. Burk is carrying Rivera’s dog Taco. Rivera, who can’t walk steps, said firefighters practically had to carry her downstairs. “I’m shook up,” she said. “I’m nervous.”


About 50 residents were evacuated and one person was treated for smoke inhalation after a small fire was reported in an apartment at Frank Callaghan Towers on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The fire appears to have been caused by an electrical short at an outlet in a second-floor apartment on the northwest side of the building, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said.

A clothes hamper full of clothes ignited, and the fire burned the side of an entertainment center, two lamps, and materials around a window, Kerley said.

“It was a fairly small fire, but it generated a lot of black smoke,” he said. The first three floors of the six-story building were evacuated, and two cats were rescued from the apartment that burned. The apartment resident was not at home at the time. [Read more…]

Video: Oak Ridge Turnpike natural gas line fire


A westbound Honda Odyssey crashed into an aboveground natural gas pipeline on the north side of Oak Ridge Turnpike on September 20, sparking a fire.

Two of three plotters plead guilty in murder attempt

Information from WYSH Radio

Two people accused of conspiring to kill an elderly man pleaded guilty in an Anderson County courtroom on Monday.

David Lee Suddeth, 44, and Dorothy Roxanne McFarland, 53, both pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, attempted aggravated arson, attempted aggravated kidnapping, and theft under $500. In exchange for those pleas, each was sentenced to nine years behind bars.

A third person, the alleged mastermind of the plot, 50-year-old Randolph Lane, is expected to enter a plea in this case on Wednesday. The trio was accused of plotting to kill then-73-year-old Luther Byrge—with whom they were all living—in January of 2012. Their plan was to lock Byrge inside his bedroom, disable the smoke detector, cut the phone lines, and set his house on fire while he was inside. The plan almost worked too, as the phone and smoke detector were disabled and Byrge was locked in his room, but according to testimony in court, the plan ultimately failed when the gasoline that was ignited under a bathroom sink melted the pipes and extinguished the fire. [Read more…]

Honors: Oak Ridge firefighter receives national accreditation

Kerry Osborne

Kerry Osborne

The Center for Public Safety Excellence has notified Captain Kerry Osborne of the Oak Ridge Fire Department that he has received national accreditation as a fire officer.

The Center for Public Safety Excellence Inc., or CPSE, is a nonprofit organization that, for more than a decade, has helped local public safety agencies around the world streamline and improve the services they provide their communities, a press release said. Through its individual commissions, CPSE provides programs that include accreditation for fire and emergency service agencies and professional designations for senior-level fire and emergency service officers.

The press release said Osborne has worked in the emergency services field for more than 21 years and has been with the ORFD since 2007, serving as a captain since 2012. [Read more…]

Former Manhattan Project headquarters, Groves home damaged in fire

Luther Brannon Oak Ridge Turnpike House Fire

The historic Luther Brannon House was damaged, but no injuries were reported in this house fire on Oak Ridge Turnpike early Monday morning. Gen. Leslie R. Groves, commander of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II, once lived here, and he had his headquarters in this single-story bungalow, which was built in 1941 and soon acquired by the federal government.


Note: This story was last updated at 1 p.m. July 8.

A historic house that once served as a home and headquarters for Gen. Leslie R. Groves during the top-secret Manhattan Project in World War II was heavily damaged in a fire early Monday morning.

No injuries were reported in the house fire, which was reported at 1:36 a.m. Monday.

The one-story stone bungalow at 151 Oak Ridge Turnpike is known as the Luther Brannon House, and it’s just west of Melton Lake Drive and next to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was the first home in Oak Ridge to be privately owned.

Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said it appears that the Monday morning fire started in the kitchen. Owner Danny Brannon and his daughter were returning from a movie when they found the home on fire. They opened the front door and found the home filled with hot, black smoke, an ORFD press release said. Brannon opened the basement door to find that area clear, but he found fire coming from the kitchen window in the back of the house. The family called 911.

“We have not been able to determine what the cause is,” Kerley said. The Fire Department is waiting for an insurance company, which is sending an investigator and claims adjuster, before continuing its investigation. [Read more…]