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Woman in wheelchair carried from burning house by firemen

May 28, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The fire had penetrated the structure while she was still inside.

Firefighters rescued a disabled woman Tuesday from a burning home on Sherry Drive.

No one was injured in the blaze, which was reported at about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday from the 1000 block of Sherry Drive. Riverton Volunteer Fire Department chief Mike Hutchison said the wheelchair-bound woman still was in the house when assistant chief Dave Woolery arrived at the scene.

"A Riverton Police Department officer and the assistant chief went in and got her out," Hutchison said. "She couldn't self-evacuate (because) she couldn't get through to the wheelchair lift."

The woman reportedly was not in the portion of the home that sustained the most damage from the blaze, which began on the back porch. However, Hutchison said the fire had penetrated the structure while she still was inside.

"It had burned through a door, (and) there were things burning inside of the house," he said. "But it hadn't really burned to a point where it was fully involved yet. They went in and were able to grab her and carry her out."

An adult man also was home when the blaze began, but Hutchison said he had been able to evacuate.

Cause

The fire started on the back porch and spread up the side of the house into the attic space.

"The deck itself caught fire, (and) some things on the deck -- I don't know whether it was patio furniture or exactly what -- but the entire deck was fully involved in fire," Hutchison said. "Then it spread up the wall into the eave area and burned into the soffit material and into the attic."

"Soffit" is defined as the underside of a part of building, such as an overhang or staircase. Hutchison said this home's soffit material was made of wood.

When they arrived at the scene, Hutchison said fire crews attacked the interior of the home, extinguishing burning materials and pulling down the ceiling to access the attic.

"There was smoke and flames venting from the upper area of the house when I arrived," he said, adding that he observed a group of neighbors using garden hoses to spray the back deck.

The team of about 15 firefighters, including an engine company, a truck company and a rescue company, cleared the scene at about 6:45 p.m.

Hutchison said the majority of the home sustained significant smoke damage, but fire damage was contained to the deck, kitchen and dining room.

Hutchison wasn't sure what started the incident, but he believes it was an accident.

"There wasn't really anything in the area where it started that it could be attributed to," he said. "We're doing some investigation and talking to the homeowners to find out what was going on."

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