Two Newton County Firefighters suffered second and third degree burns while fighting a house fire Thursday morning that claimed a resident's life.
When firefighters responded to the home on Trotter’s Walk they found it fully engulfed, with flames visible from the back of the house. Normally with a fire of that caliber firefighters would fight the blaze from the outside first, attempting to extinguish some of it before entering the structure. After being told a woman in her mid-60s, later identified as Laverne Goodwin, was trapped inside, they braved the fire in an attempt to save her.
Firefighters Chris Calhoun and Justin McCord worked their way to the victim’s bedroom on the second floor and were able to bring her down the stairs. According to Newton County Fire Chief Mike Satterfield, the stairway they had to navigate and the ceiling of the home were on fire at the time.
"They were getting direct flame contact," explained Satterfield, who also said that much of the firefighters equipment – especially their helmets and hoods – were damaged beyond repair.
Calhoun, a veteran, received the worst burns, receiving third degree burns to his ear and second degree burns on his bicep. According to Satterfield, Calhoun will remain out of work and under doctor’s care for at least a week.
McCord, a rookie firefighter, also received third degree burns to his ear.
"It’s discolored and blistered along the top," said Satterfield.
Both men were transported to Newton Medical Center where they were treated and released, but will require follow-up care for their injuries.
"That environment is certainly not one we would normally send our firefighters into," said Satterfield. "But since someone was trapped inside they did whatever they could to get in there and get her out. I am certainly very proud of them. They made a very gallant effort to save this woman."