HARTSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With the winter months just around the corner, safety is at the top of many minds, especially after several deadly fires across the state this month.
According to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, there have been 50 accidental and undetermined structure fire fatalities, as of July. Since then, there have been several added to that list, including 53-year-old Dennis Price.
“He told us, and let us know, there was a fire, and that he had passed,” remembered Samantha Price, one of Dennis’ daughters.
Samantha remembers getting a phone call from the officer, letting her know about the fire. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Trousdale Sheriff deputies, along with the fire department, responded to a fire in an apartment next to the sheriff’s station. Initial reports said there was someone still inside.
When first responders entered, they found a man inside. Dennis’ family told News 2, he had suffered injuries prior to the fire, that affected his mobility.
“Just to imagine that he was stuck there. It’s really bothersome. It just hurts,” Samantha said.
Tennessee Bomb and Arson and the State Medical Examiner’s office were notified, and the cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Across Middle Tennessee, fire crews have been battling house and apartment fires, some of them ending in fatalities.
“Typically when everybody swapped over to their heat here a couple of weeks ago, or last week when the temperature dropped. Over the summer, you have a lot of dust particles that build up on your unit and it will fill up your house with smoke or the smell of something burning,” explained Hendersonville Fire Chief Scotty Busch.
News 2 spoke with Busch after the department responded to an apartment fire that claimed the life of a 71-year-old man. In September, a woman was found dead inside her Harbor Drive home.
As the temperature drops, safety precautions are becoming necessary. From fire alarms to escape plans and carbon monoxide warning systems, first responders are urging residents to have all three. In the case of the 71-year-old man, carbon monoxide poisoning was a contributing factor.
“We evacuated the entire building because of the high incent of carbon monoxide which we refer to it in the fire services as a silent killer because there’s no scents or no smell to that,” said Busch. “It was activated, we think that maybe it’s what woke the gentleman up in the apartment, but as he started trying to exit the building he just got overtaken by the products of combustion.”
Dennis’ family is hoping to send his body back home to Fayetteville, Tennessee. They have created a GoFundMe account to help.