A majority of the residents who were displaced by Monday’s electrical fire at Jaycee Towers returned late Wednesday afternoon. A little more than 80 of the residents had to spend the last two nights at a shelter operated by the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee. The remaining residents stayed with family or made other accommodations.
EPB and a private contractor worked non-stop to make the necessary repairs. After a final sweep through the 18-story building earlier Wednesday, Fire Marshal Beau Matlock gave the okay for the residents to return. Chief Matlock said the sprinkler system is fully operational, and he has verified that the fire alarm system and emergency lights are working properly. He added that personnel with the Fire Prevention Bureau will be making follow-up visits to Jaycee Towers to go safety procedures and provide some fire safety talks with the residents.
Since the power has been out for a couple of days, the food the residents left behind in their refrigerators was probably not fit to eat. So the Chattanooga Salvation Army provided one last meal in the community room at Jaycee Towers, and the Chattanooga Area Food Bank brought in a large load of boxed lunches and cleanup kits that will help the residents get back on their feet. As they enjoyed their first meal back home, McKamey Animal Services arrived with their pets.
Taking care of the displaced residents was truly a community effort. Many of the residents are older and have physical disabilities and other special needs, so additional help was needed. Fortunately, many local agencies rallied to the cause. Here’s a list of who helped: Adventist Community Services – Disaster Response, American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee, CARTA, Chattanooga Area Food Bank, Chattanooga Fire Department, Chattanooga Recreation Department, Chattanooga Salvation Army, EPB, Fire Chaplain’s Association, Goodwill, Hamilton County EMS, Hamilton County Health Department, McKamey Animal Services, United Way and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD).