Autistic man saved from fire in Knoxville home, firefighter injured

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The dramatic rescue of a 25 year-old autistic man trapped in a burning home home sent both him and the first firefighter to reach him to the hospital on Friday.

The fire started shortly after 9:30 a.m. at a home on Deerfield Road in northwest Knoxville, explained KFD spokesperson D.J. Corcoran. By the time firefighters arrived, most of the family, including two children, had escaped. They told firefighters about the man still stuck inside.

One of the firefighters, Chris Medley, found the victim in an upstairs bedroom. Corcoran said the victim resisted as Medley tried to get him out of there and, in the course of the struggle, he knocked off Medley's mask.

Flames eventually trapped the pair, spurring a general mayday and prompting firefighters to drop everything to save them. KFD Capt. Fontaine reached them first and led them to safety.

Corcoran said the victim was covered with second and third degree burns over about 15% of his body. He was transported to Vanderbilt Burn Center. Medley was taken to UT Medical Center where he was treated for burns on his neck and ears.

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