Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a possible commercial fire shortly before 1 a.m. on Wednesday. Six fire companies were sent to A & M Construction Company at 7161 Lee Highway on an automatic fire alarm, with Quint 8 the first to arrive.
After inspecting the building for a few minutes, Captain Dennis Witt with Quint 8 said no smoke or fire could be seen, so he notified 911 Communications to cancel the other five responding companies. However, after a few more minutes on the scene, the firefighters noticed a small amount of smoke beginning to come from the front eves of the building. Seeing that there was potentially a real fire in the building, Captain Witt notified Communications to send the companies that had just been cancelled.
As other fire companies responded, the firefighters with Quint 8 forced their way in through the front door. Battalion Chief Rick Boatwright arrived to take over command. Chief Boatwright said the firefighters located the fire in a work area toward the rear of the structure. The firefighters got the fire out in roughly 10 minutes, containing the blaze to the rear of the structure. No injuries were reported.
The loss from the fire was estimated at $30,000. Chief Boatwright said the damages could have been much worse, if the firefighters had been less observant. “This looked like a typical automatic alarm malfunction,” said Mr. Boatwright, “but the firefighters were thorough in their investigation and eventually noticed the smoke. If they hadn’t noticed the smoke and left, the whole building could have gone up in flames.” The cause of the fire is under investigation.
- Photo2 by Battalion Chief Rick Boatwright