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Clarksville Police Officer Spots House Fire, saves one Man, another found deceased


Clarksville Police DepartmentClarksville, TN – On February 4th, around 1:50am, Clarksville Police Officer Gary Mefford was on a traffic stop on Providence Boulevard when he spotted flames coming from a house on Cave Street. He notified dispatch and several officers responded to the scene of the fire at 197 Cave Street.

When officers arrived, the house fire was well underway. They were beating on the doors trying to make contact with anyone inside.

Clarksville Fire Rescue responds to a house fire on Cave Street. (Photo by CPD-Jim Knoll)

Clarksville Fire Rescue responds to a house fire on Cave Street. (Photo by CPD-Jim Knoll)

They saw a man inside one of the only rooms which was not on fire. They beat on the doors, broke out a window, and were finally able to rouse the man from his sleep. The man, Matias Hernandez-Castellano, 50 seemed unaware that the house was on fire.

The officers then pulled out a wall air conditioning unit, broke another window, and pulled the man to safety. There were several officers involved in getting the man out: Josh Swaffer, Gary Mefford, Ronnie Brown, Jeff Lucenti, Matt Ferrell and Sgt Javier Matiz.

Initially, there was only thought to be the one man in the house, then it was discovered there was another man inside. But at that point the house was fully engulfed in fire and firefighters had arrived, so officers backed off.

When the firefighters could safely make entry, they found a man in his late 20s deceased inside. The firefighters continued fighting the fire until after 6:00am as the fire continued to reignite and there were numerous hotspots inside.

The Clarksville Police Department and Clarksville Fire Rescue are conducting a joint investigation into the fire, which is normal procedure for an unattended death.

The deceased man’s will be released pending notification of family.

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