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One of the nation’s most decorated war veterans has lost his home and most of his belongings.
Fire Thursday night heavily damaged the home of 92-yearold Thomas E. Gwynn, who lived at 114 E. Ragan St. in Tullahoma.
The fire appeared to have started behind a couch and quickly spread, according to Tullahoma Fire Chief Richard Shasteen.
Gwynn called 911 to report the fire around 8 p.m., Shasteen said, and when fi refi ghters arrived flames were coming out the rear of the building.
“Firefighters made two attempts to enter the residence but were forced back due to the heat and the fl ames,” Shasteen said, adding that no one was inside because Gwynn was already gone.
Investigation revealed that the fire appeared to have started in the living room behind the couch toward the back of the house, which suffered heavy damage from smoke and heat.
“Mr. Gwynn called for us and when we arrived he had gone to a neighbor’s house,” Shasteen said.
The News has published a number of stories about Gwynn, During World War II he earned the rank of Army first lieutenant on the battlefield during the Normandy invasion. When the Korean War broke out he was again called to duty and was cited for bravery in action.
He was wounded 22 times during the two wars and is the holder of numerous Purple Hearts. In Korea he was captured by the enemy twice and escaped both times.
Among his many medals is the National Order of the Legion of Honor bestowed by the French government for his service to that country during World War II.
His medals were in the house at the time of the fire but it is not known yet if they were destroyed.
Shasteen said some good news has come out of the disaster.
“Mr. Gwynn has no family here but is being taken care of by his insurance company,” he said.
Because of the intensity of the fire, the Manchester and AEDC Fire Departments were put on standby in the event that they were needed.