Bradford Police: One Dead, One Injured in Fire

Natalie Potts

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. - Firefighters in Bradford are now looking into how a vacant home burst into flames, killing one and sending another to the hospital.

Fire officials told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News they responded to a house fire around 1 a.m. Saturday.

Christy Cates, who spotted the fire while driving home and called for help, said she saw police questioning an injured man that was found about two miles up the road away from the burning home.

"They came up with a guy who was singed from head to tow, black with soot and his hands were bleeding and stuff," said Cates.

She said she heard the man telling police that his girlfriend was trapped inside the burning home.

"I was heartbroken because I was the first one here and I looked around the house and I didn't hear anything but crackling. He was frantic saying that there was somebody inside and that it was his girlfriend and that there was nobody supposed to be living in the house," said Cates."He was like, 'I got here, and I was trying to get her out, she was screaming. She was trying to get out of the window.' He said that he cut himself on the window trying to bust the windows to get her out."

While putting out the fire, firefighters said they found one person dead inside the home. Officials were unable to identify the body.

Police said the body has been sent to Nashville for an autopsy report.

Neighbors said the home has been vacant for many years.

The house was described as just a shell of a home with no running water or electricity.

"It's been vacant for quite a while. The guy bought it for back taxes and has been trying to sell it," said neighbor Vance Harrington."I'm pretty aware of what goes on around my house, so I would have known if they had been there awhile."

Neighbors said they are not sure why the two people were staying inside the vacant home, but they wish they had known people were living there when the house was first discovered burning.

"I felt like if I had known that somebody was actually in there that I might could have done more," said Cates.

Assistant Police Chief Dave Chaffin with Bradford Police confirmed that the state bomb and arson investigators are looking into what started the blaze. Neighbors said they believe the fire was an accident.

"I think it's probably more along the lines of they were using candles for light, maybe built a fire for heat," said Harrington.

The injured man was taken to a Trenton hospital where he is suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. Police said his injuries are non-life threatening and their investigation is ongoing.


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