East Ridge Fire/Arson investigators have arrested 21-year-old Thomas Shirley, of East Ridge, in connection with Tuesday morning’s apartment fire at the Spring Creek Garden Apartments at 950 Spring Creek Road. Shirley was transported to the Hamilton County Jail where he was charged with aggravated arson, attempted murder, and reckless endangerment.
Shirley has also been charged in connection to an auto theft which also occurred Tuesday morning at the same apartments at 950 Spring Creek Road which ended when he crashed the vehicle into a building at the intersection of Shallowford Road and Standifer Gap Road.
East Ridge Fire/Rescue and Police responded on Tuesday, at approximately 1:24 a.m., in reference to an apartment fire. The first units reported a working fire in apartment 122 and heavy smoke on the first and second floor. The battalion chief requested a recall of all off duty firefighters as well as a mutual aid engine from Catoosa County Fire/Rescue for additional manpower.
Occupants were found to be trapped on the second floor due to heavy smoke in the hallway. Fire crews searched and evacuated all the rooms on both the first and second floor to ensure everyone was safe and accounted for. Firefighters also initiated an aggressive interior attack and were able to quickly contain the fire to apartment 122.
East Ridge Fire/Arson investigators and police conducted an investigation and determined the fire to be suspicious in nature.
Units that responded included East Ridge Squad 1, Squad 2, Engine 1, Engine 2, Quint 1, Support 1, Rescue 1, Catoosa County Engine 7 and Angel EMS.