Chattanooga firefighters were forced to improvise Wednesday night when they could not get to a fire due to impassable roads. Around 11 p.m., they were dispatched to a reported house fire at 501 Semi Circle Drive.
Captain Eric Gordon with Quint 16 said their truck could not make it up an icy hill, so they grabbed some portable water and dry powder extinguishers off the truck and walked to the house. Fortunately, this was a dryer fire and was still relatively small.
Captain Gordon said they located the fire on top of the washer and dryer. Using the portable fire extinguishers, they got most of the fire out, but not all of it. Firefighters with Quint 19 and Squad 19 arrived moments later, and they too had to walk with their portable fire extinguishers to the house. Once there, they finished putting the fire out. No injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire will be ruled accidental. The homeowner told firefighters that the power went out a few hours earlier, so in trying to light up the house, he placed a small propane lantern in the laundry room. Captain Gordon said the fire appeared to have been caused by sparks from the lantern landing on a pile of dirty clothes. The clothes must have smoldered for a while and eventually caught fire.
The loss was estimated at $1,000. Officials said, "Obviously, considering what it took for the firefighters to get there, the damage could have been much worse."