Chattanooga Firefighters Battle 2 Major Fires Friday Morning In Sub-Freezing Temperatures

Friday, January 5, 2018

Chattanooga firefighters battled two major blazes on Friday.

At 2:35 a.m., Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to an automatic fire alarm at 7860 Magnolia Lake Drive in the Legends subdivision.

The first firefighters on the scene reported nothing visible. However, to be absolutely sure, they contacted the homeowner through the alarm company and gained access to the house. Once inside, they discovered a lot of smoke and confirmed that they had a working fire. 

Battalion Chief Brandon Schroyer said the fire was hidden in the floor and difficult to gain access to. As the flames began to spread into the walls, Chief Schroyer called for a additional fire companies to assist those on the scene who were fighting the fire in 15 degree temperatures. Despite their best efforts, the fire spread up into the attic and raced across the top of the large, two-story house.

Those firefighters who arrived first fought the blaze in the frigid weather until their shift ended at 7:00 a.m. They were replaced by another shift of firefighters, who resumed the firefighting operation for several more hours. The house was considered a total loss.

Water runoff from the firefighting operation froze on the ground, pavement and fire equipment. One firefighter was injured when she slipped on the ice and hit her head. She was transported to a local hospital for observation, but her injuries are not life-threatening.

The house was unoccupied at the time of the fire. The couple who owned it said they were planning on selling the house next week. A track hoe with the city's Public Works Department was called in to raze the structure. The purpose was to make it easier for firefighters to put out hot spots, and also to remove potential hazards to the public, such as unsupported brick walls. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Chattanooga police, Hamilton County EMS, EPB and Hamiltion County's Rehab Unit also provided valuable assistance on the scene.

While firefighters were still working to put out hot spots on this fire, the department received another alarm at 10:48 a.m. of a structure fire at 1048 Hurricane Creek Road. Some of the fire crews packed their gear and headed for that fire, which turned into a 2-alarm blaze. No one was injured in that fire.

A family of six lived in the house that was totally destroyed, including a husband, wife and four children. They lost everything in the fire.

Battalion Chief Travis Williams was the first on the scene and when he saw that the rear of the structure was engulfed in flames, requested a second alarm response to bring in additional firefighters and equipment. 

Battalion Chief David Thompson Jr. said their firefighting efforts were hampered by several factors, including low water pressure and a damaged hydrant in front of the house. Firefighters with the first engine company to arrive on the scene, Engine 9, discovered that their pump was partially frozen, which put their truck out of commission. Chief Thompson said the firefighters had to swap out fire apparatus and hook up to a hydrant further down the street. In the meantime, the fire spread quickly and eventually erupted through the roof. It took the firefighters roughly an hour to get the blaze under control. The house was considered a total loss. No injuries were reported.

No one was reportedly home at the time of the fire. Though there were some initial concerns that two children might still be inside the burning structure, the homeowner told firefighters that his wife and four children were away at the time and all were accounted for. The family had three dogs and a kitten. Two dogs were found safe outside. It is believed one dog and the kitten perished in the blaze. A track hoe with the city's Public Works Division was requested to raze the remnants of the structure to help the firefighters put out the hot spots. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

With numerous fire companies committed to two large fires this morning, the decision was made to request help with a Mutual Aid Standby. The Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department sent three tankers to the Hurricane Creek fire to assist with the water supply issues. Other fire departments that provided assistance included the following: Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department, East Ridge Fire Department, Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department, Signal Mountain Fire Department and the Soddy Daisy Fire Department. The Hamilton County 911 Mobile Incident Support Team also responded to the scene to assist with communications, since so many fire companies were committed on fire scenes. Chattanooga police, Hamilton County EMS, EPB and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue's Rehab Truck also provided valuable assistance on the scene.

The Forgotten Child Fund showed up on the scene Friday afternoon and brought the family a supply of clothes, winter apparel (coats, gloves, scarfs and toboggans), gift cards and two large boxes of toys to replace the toys they lost in the fire. They will also be receiving bicycles.


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