Fire broke out in a residence at 1013 32nd Street around 3:20 a.m. on Friday. Jennifer Saddler told firefighters she awoke to find fire in the living room area. Ms. Saddler quickly alerted the other occupants in the house, including five children, ages ranging from 14 to five years old, and three adults. Smoke alarms were present in the residence, but did not activate, possibly because there were no working batteries in them.
Battalion Chief Lesley Morgan said all the adults and children made it out of the residence safely and called 911. Chattanooga police officers arrived and confirmed the residence was heavily involved with fire and that all of the occupants were safe and accounted for. Engine 9 arrived moments later and firefighting operations were started.
Firefighters from four companies worked in freezing temperatures and high winds to extinguish the fire. Captain David Barie said two cats ran from the residence when doors leading into the house were opened, and two dogs were rescued from the house by firefighters. After the fire was extinguished, a search for a third dog had a happy ending when firefighters found it alive in the house and carried out to the residents. Chief Morgan said one cat did perish in the blaze.
Hamilton County EMS was on the scene to check on the residents and monitor firefighters. EPB was called in to disconnect the power line to the house that had burned off the side of the house and was causing a hazard for the firefighters. Chief Morgan said the fire was contained to the front area of the house, but there was heavy smoke and water damage to the rest of the residence. The loss was estimated at $80,000 for the structure and contents. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Volunteers with the American Red Cross arrived quickly to provide assistance to the family.