West Knox firefighters called to an apartment fire Tuesday morning found and rescued a women from the smoke-filled unit.
Chief Darryl Baker said firefighters were called to Spider Creek Apartments on Gilbert Street at 4:01 a.m. after a fire alarm was activated.
“When we got there, neighbors reported someone was possibly inside,” Baker said.
When firefighters were unable to get a response after banging on the doors and windows, Baker said he and firefighter Brian Hutton made entry.
“The apartment was totally engulfed in smoke. Visibility was limited to three or four feet,” Baker said.
Approximately six feet inside the apartment, firefighters found a female, later identified as Vickie Napier, 46. When firefighters grabbed hold of Napier, she did not respond.
Baker carried Napier outside while Hutton searched the remainder of the apartment to ensure no one else was inside.
“While being carried out of the apartment, the female regained consciousness,” Baker said.
Firefighters traced the source of the smoke to the stove, locating a pot left on a hot burner, and a pan of food in the oven.
“The woman told us she had been up for a long time and just fell asleep while cooking,” Baker said.
Knox County EMS personnel treated Napier at the scene. She refused transport to the hospital.
Firefighters were on the scene until 5:25 a.m.
However, they were called back to the scene at 7:22 a.m.
Dispatchers reported that the apartment had, once again, filled with smoke.
“She had put the food back in the oven,” Baker said of Napier noting it appear to be some type of casserole.
Firefighters were on the scene until 7:47 a.m.
Baker said while it was he and Hutton who made entry, it was a team effort from the entire department that made the rescue possible.
“From checking the trucks on a weekly basis, training every week, and sometimes, putting our personal lives on hold for the fire department, it is all of our 34 members working together,” Baker said. “Our department functions so well because of everyone. When we win, we win as a family. When we lose, we lose as a family. Tonight we give thanks to God for putting us there for the win.”