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Man who tried to save woman from Morristown fire in critical condition

December 16th, 2009 12:00 am by Staff Report

According to a Morristown Citizen Tribune report a man in in critical condition after an unsuccessful effort to rescue  a woman from a raging apartment fire.

When Mark Pierce realized that his neighbor, Betty Rathbone, hadn’t escaped from her burning Townview Apartments residence he crawled through the thick smoke and flames.

Based on witness reports, Rathbone, 70, was likely already dead. When Pierce emerged from the North Henry Street apartment minutes later, he was unconscious in the arms of Morristown firefighters.

Pierce was airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville and later transferred to Vanderbilt Burn Center in Nashville. This morning, he was listed in critical condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Moments before Pierce’s rescue attempt, Rathbone’s son, Terry Rathbone, had tried to save his mother, but was repelled by the thick smoke and intense heat.

"I tried to stop him," said Mr. Rathbone, whose hair, beard and eyebrows were profoundly singed. "I heard him holler once … When I looked into the door, (my mother’s) chair was on fire. I couldn’t see her."

Read the full report at the Morristown Citizen Tribune's Web site.

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