Friday, October 31, 2014 · 7:43 p.m.

Morning fire leaves Chattanooga family of seven homeless

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A fire in a Hixson home early Friday morning has left a family of seven homeless.

Jose Martinez told firefighters that he and his family were asleep and awoke to popping noises, and when he went to investigate the mysterious sounds, his Lincoln Navigator was on fire in the carport. 

Everyone got out of the house safely, and Martinez used his daughter's cellphone to call 911. 

The Chattanooga Fire Department responded to the alarm at 1227 Gadd Road at 2:39 a.m. with five fire companies. 

Capt. Chip Kincer with Quint 19, one of the first firefighters on the scene, said two vehicles, the carport and most of the house were on fire upon arrival. As additional companies arrived, Kincer said his firefighters were able to protect a third vehicle and garage while attacking the fire from inside the residence.

No injuries were reported.

Battalion Chief Rick Sewell, the incident commander, said the fire in the modular home was difficult to extinguish because of the partial collapse of the roof in the rear. He estimated that it took 45 minutes to an hour to get the blaze under control. 

Damages are estimated at $62,000 on the house, $20,000 on the contents and $15,000 on the two vehicles. 

Three adults and four children lived in the house, which they were leasing with the intent to purchase. Lt. Henry McElvain said the family was Hispanic and that a language barrier was therefore encountered, but firefighter Samuel Gutierrez, who is a native of Mexico and who was on the scene with Quint 6, was able to serve as an interpreter. 

Volunteers with the American Red Cross have been called in to provide assistance to the family. McElvain said the fire appears to have started in the carport, but exactly what caused the blaze is undetermined. 

The Chattanooga Police Department and Hamilton County EMS also provided assistance on the scene.

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