Boy, 9, Charged In Dollar General Store Arson

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
- photo by Brent McDonald (See video on Channel 9)

Chattanooga fire investigators have charged a nine-year-old boy with aggravated arson and reckless endangerment in connection with the fire he admitted starting at the Dollar General Store in Hixson on late Tuesday afternoon.

Lt. Anthony Moore with the Fire Investigation Division said the youth was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center on Tuesday night and was expected to go before a Juvenile Court judge this morning to face the charges.

The boy told firefighters that he was mad at his mother so he walked to the rear of the store and set rolls of bathroom tissue on fire. He said he used matches that were on display not far from where the bathroom tissue display was located. The boy said he watched the fire grow for a while, and then made his way out the front entrance.

The boy's mother turned her son over to the fire investigators when her son told her that he started the fire.

The fire destroyed the store at Hixson Pike and Highway 153.

Store Manager Tammy Laney was the first adult to discover the fire when she started smelling smoke. When she discovered the fire, she initially tried to put the flames out herself, but was unsuccessful. It was also becoming difficult for her to breathe. She then got everyone out of the store and called 911.

The Chattanooga Fire Department received the call at 5:45 p.m. and responded with six fire companies to 4852 Hixson Pike. At first, it appeared that the firefighters would be able to get the fire under control fairly quickly, but the fire got into the attic and was difficult to locate in the thick, black smoke. The firefighters made an interior attack and tried to use thermal imaging cameras to locate the fire. However, other firefighters noticed that the roof was beginning to sag, so the order was given to evacuate the building for the safety of the firefighters.

As the fire continued to spread, Battalion Chief Bob Dixon called for a second alarm response to bring in additional firefighters and equipment. The firefighters set up four aerials with master streams, along with several firefighters who used handheld hoselines, and they eventually got the blaze under control.

No injuries were reported.

The firefighters did manage to keep the fire from destroying an adjacent building, which was previously a grocery store but is now vacant.

The Dollar General Store and its contents will be considered a total loss. The store employed seven people.

Chattanooga Police, Hamilton County EMS and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue also provided assistance on the scene.


View Dollar General Store In Hixson Burns in a larger map


PHOTOS: Funeral Of Luther Masingill

For video by Ben Cagle click here , here and here . (click for more)

Barbara Sue Perdue Greer Charged With Coercion Of A Witness

Barbara Sue Perdue Greer has been arrested for coercion of a witness. Members of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Department’s Criminal Investigation Division filed the charge and took Ms. Greer, 40, of Cohulla Road, Southeast, into custody.  Reports indicate Ms. Greer is a defendant in a pending case, and her actions toward a witness in that case led to the charge.  ... (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Holds Off Mercer For Big SoCon Win

If you wanted to see a lot of offense in a college football game, then you should have been at Finley Stadium Saturday afternoon. Playing in front of an announced crowd of 10,763 on a spectacular fall day, the Chattanooga Mocs took advantage of an offensive explosion as they improved to 4-0 in the Southern Conference and 5-3 overall with a 38-31 victory over the Mercer Bears. ... (click for more)

CCS, Notre Dame Win State Soccer Sectionals, GPS Advances To State Semifinals

It was a District 7A/AA sweep on Saturday in girls state soccer sectionals.  Notre Dame hosted Boyd-Bucahan and won 1-0 and CCS traveled to Grace and won 2-1.  In Class AAA, East Hamilton hosted Oakland and lost 1-0. In the quarterfinals of the Division II state tournament, GPS hosted Hutchison and earned a 2-0 win.  CCS and Notre Dame will play in the state ... (click for more)