The Chattanooga Fire Department worked a three-alarm fire for hours at a local landmark. Companies were called to the old Highland Park Baptist Church Friday at 7:13 p.m. after a passerby spotted smoke and notified 911.
The old church is now part of the Redemption to the Nations Church campus. It is located at the corner of Union Avenue and South Orchard Knob Avenue.
Crews from Station 5 saw the smoke from the fire hall as they were leaving and found heavy, black smoke coming from all four sides of the building, as well as the roof, on arrival. A second and then third alarm was called due to the conditions and size of the structure, bringing additional personnel to the scene.
Firefighters made entry multiple times to locate the fire and flames were found in several locations between the first and third floor. Officials from the church advised that the vacant building was structurally unsafe.
At that time, everyone was evacuated and defensive firefighting operations got underway. Ladder trucks were placed on all sides of the building for elevated master streams to contain the fire to the building of origin and protect adjacent structures. Twenty one of the CFD’s 26 companies were sent to the scene - more than 100 personnel.
The cause of this blaze will be under investigation.
A “shelter in place” was issued for residents living within five blocks of 1906 Bailey Ave. due to the smoke hazard caused by the fire. They were asked to stay inside and close all of their windows and doors until the fire is extinguished.
The shelter in place was lifted on Saturday morning.
Fire officials said, "We want to thank our Tri-State Mutual Aid Association partners from across the region for filling in at our fire halls and answering calls while the CFD works this major incident. Firefighters will be working throughout the night on this scene. There are no known injuries at this time. In addition to our Blue Shift personnel on the scene and members of our command staff, the following agencies also responded: Hamilton County 911’s Incident Dispatch Unit, Hamilton County EMS, CPD, Public Works, Tennessee American Water, CFD’s Fleet Division, CFD’s Investigations Division, CFD Special Operations, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue’s Rehab Unit, Chattanooga Land Development Office, city building inspectors and the Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management."
Fire officials said, "We know this local landmark holds a lot of memories for families in our area."