Fire Guts Business On Dodson Avenue; Cause Is Suspicious

Thursday, April 03, 2014

One of two businesses located in the same building was gutted by fire Thursday morning. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the initial alarm around 10:30 a.m. and responded to 901 Dodson Ave. with six fire companies. The building was shared by the Blue Spot lounge and Mercury Cab. Captain David Brooks with Engine 4 said the fire was toward the rear of the lounge and was spreading rapidly into the attic.

Chattanooga fire investigators are trying to figure out how the fire started, when there was no power to the building and no one was supposedly there.

Lt. Henry McElvain with the Fire Investigation Division said the cause of the fire is suspicious in nature and the investigation will be ongoing. The loss was estimated at $50,000. 

Captain Brooks said their initial efforts to put the fire out were hampered by fortified locked doors. They simply could not get into the lounge. The firefighters used power saws and other tools to get through the locks, but were unsuccessful. So, Captain Brooks said the firefighters went in the Mercury Cab side of the building and cut through an interior wall to try to get into the lounge. By then, the flames had spread well into the attic, so the firefighters had to cut their way into the attic to get water on the fire. It took roughly 30 minutes to get the blaze under control. No injuries were reported.

While fire caused extensive damage to the Blue Spot, the Mercury Cab business next door was spared any fire damage. An interior wall was damaged when the firefighters had to cut through it, but the firefighters prevented a lot of water damage by placing tarps over the furniture and office equipment. 

Chattanooga police, Hamilton County EMS and EPB provided assistance.

To see video by Bruce Garner, click here and here.

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