Chattanooga firefighters had to deal with a number of challenges when they were dispatched to a duplex fire around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday at 1507 Taylor Street. Deputy Chief Chris Adams said the first firefighters on the scene hooked up to the nearest hydrant, but that hydrant was frozen. So while firefighters moved to the next hydrant, other firefighters used water out of the tanks on Quint 10 and Engine 5, and a tanker that carries 1,500 gallons of water was also requested.
In the meantime, the firefighters encountered live power lines on the ground, so EPB was called in to cut the power to the lines. Chief Adams said the firefighters made entry into the boarded up duplex and got the fire under control in roughly 45 minutes.
Though the firefighters were soaked with water, which quickly froze on their gear and equipment, no injuries were reported. Paramedics with Hamilton County EMS were on the scene to check on the firefighters. The fire department’s mass casualty bus was called in to serve as a temporary shelter so the firefighters could get out of the cold, and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue brought in its rehab truck to provide hot drinks and snacks.
Water runoff from the fire scene quickly froze on the streets, so city public works crews were called in to apply salt and sand to the slick spots. Wilcox Boulevard at Dodson Avenue was blocked for about an hour so that cars could not run over the fire hose supply line. That line has since been taken up and Wilcox Boulevard has now reopened.
The duplex appears to have been vacant for some time. Battalion Chief Jeff Eldridge said some of the hot spots in the duplex have been difficult to get to, so a track hoe would be brought in to clear away some of the debris. Chief Eldridge said that will help the firefighters finish putting out the hot spots, and eliminate the possibility of a rekindle. The cause of the fire is under investigation.