Smoke Inhalation During Kitchen Fire Sends Hanceville Man To UAB

by | Jan 10, 2018 | City News, Hanceville

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Smoke Inhalation During Kitchen Fire Sends Hanceville Man To UAB

Firefighters from Hanceville Fire & Rescue were dispatch by the Cullman e911 system to an address in the 900 block of County Road 541 on Friday.

The 911 call concerned a fire inside a residential kitchen at this location just east of the City of Hanceville.

Upon arrival, the personnel from Hanceville Fire & Rescue discovered the kitchen inside the residence to be on fire.

Hanceville Fire Chief Rodger Green describes what happened next:

“As we arrived and began assessing the situation, an older man exited the house. He announced that he was an occupant of the home and that he had fought the fire in the kitchen himself.”

Apparently, the man did an excellent job of firefighting. He largely extinguished the bulk of the main flames while buying time until the fire department could arrive.

Green continues,

“The man did a remarkable job knocking down the fire. He likely saved his home from significant damage. We were able to finish the job and contain the blaze in the kitchen.


With all that said, the moment I looked at the man, I knew he was in trouble. His face was pitch black with smoke residue. I figured his lungs were similarly affected. However, his initial reaction was to decline medical examination and treatment.”

A medical team from Cullman EMS arrived soon after that. At that point, this ballsy citizen firefighter was beginning to exhibit symptoms of smoke inhalation. He eventually agreed to be transported to Cullman Regional via ambulance.

Chief Green followed the man’s medical situation through the rest of Friday and into Saturday:

“Unfortunately, the gentleman had some serious medical complications from the smoke inhalation and had to be rushed to UAB Medical Center. Everyone at Hanceville Fire & Rescue was saddened to hear that news.”

Smoke inhalation is the primary cause of death for victims of indoor fires. The inhalation or exposure to hot gaseous products of combustion can cause severe respiratory complications.

Some 50–80% of fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation injuries, including burns to the respiratory system.] The hot smoke injures or kills by a combination of thermal damage, poisoning and pulmonary irritation and swelling, caused by carbon monoxide, cyanide, and other combustion products.

Symptoms range from coughing and vomiting to nausea, sleepiness, and confusion. Burns to the nose, mouth, and face, singed nostril hairs, difficulty breathing, and carbonaceous sputum (burned saliva) are signs of smoke inhalation injury. Approximately one-third of patients admitted to burns units have the pulmonary injury from hot smoke inhalation.

The death rate of patients with both severe burns and smoke inhalation can be more than 50%.

Chief Green concluded his explanation of the kitchen fire this way:

“The good news is that we were able to save the home of this man from severe damage. He was absolutely instrumental in the process.


At the same time, this is an important and tragic lesson about people attempting to fight their own fires. Even something as seemingly small as a ‘kitchen fire’ can quickly turn into something far more than most homeowners can safely handle.


The first rule in any structure fire is: ‘Get you and your loved ones out of the building and then call 911 immediately.’ Don’t risk your well-being and life by attempting to fight a fire, that’s why we have fire departments. Personal belongings can be replaced; you and your loved ones cannot.


Everyone at Hanceville Fire & Rescue is pulling for this man to make it out of UAB in good shape!”

County Road 541

Smoke Inhalation During Kitchen Fire Sends Hanceville Man To UAB

Timothy Collins

Timothy brings an insightful holistic perspective as well as a mountain man tenacity to his various roles at Cullman Today. You can reach him at

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