published Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Chattanooga: Fire guts Hixson Dollar General

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    Staff Photo by John Rawlston Firefighters battle a blaze at the Dollar General Store at Highway 153 and Hixson Pike.

Chattanooga fire investigators said late today they are trying to determine what charges will be filed against a 9-year-old boy who confessed to starting a fire that gutted the Dollar General Store in Hixson.

The boy told firefighters that he was mad at his mother, so he walked to the rear of the store and set rolls of bathroom tissue on fire, said Bruce Garner, fire department spokesman.

Store manager Tammy Laney smelled smoke, found the fire and tried to put the flames out but was unsuccessful, Mr. Garner said. Ms. Laney got everyone out of the store and called 911, he said.

The Chattanooga Fire Department received the call at 5:45 p.m. and responded with six fire companies to 4852 Hixson Pike, Mr. Garner said.

“At first, it appeared that the firefighters would be able to get the fire under control fairly quickly, but the fire got into the attic and was difficult to locate in the thick, black smoke,” he said. “The firefighters made an interior attack and tried to use thermal imaging cameras to locate the fire. However, other firefighters noticed that the roof was beginning to sag, so the order was given to evacuate the building for the safety of the firefighters.”

As the fire spread, Battalion Chief Bob Dixon called for a second alarm response to bring in more firefighters and equipment. The firefighters eventually got the blaze under control, he said, and no injuries were reported.

The firefighters kept the fire from destroying an adjacent building, previously a grocery store but now vacant, officials said.

The Dollar General Store, which employed seven people, and its contents will be considered a total loss, officials said.

Chattanooga police, Hamilton County EMS and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue personnel provided assistance at the scene.

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crtsports said...

Prosecute the parents because the mom should have been watching her kids.

April 14, 2009 at 10:07 p.m.
crichar3 said...

You can not keep constant watch of a 9 year old kid. This is a hard situation. Does the child really understand the consequences of his actions?

April 14, 2009 at 10:38 p.m.
crtsports said...

If you decide to have children you are responsible for their actions and whereabouts. Obviously the kid knew about fire which is debatable as to why he knows at that age but the parents are completely liable in my mind.

April 14, 2009 at 11:32 p.m.
chatt31 said...

I agree that the parents should be held responsible. Too many children are being brought into this world- just for the sake of having a child and getting welfare. Once one has sex and it deteremines one is with child-things should change in ones life to provide a wonderful up bringing for the child. It doesnt in this day and age- many just have sex to get more assistance and the child suffers later-- no supervision, doesnt go to school, into drugs and criminal activity. Parents are totally responsible for childs actions- especially at the age of 9 years old. The Mother should have been watching him!!!

April 15, 2009 at 7:30 a.m.
MSPERSISTANT said...

IF A 9 YEAR OLD CHILD IS SO UNRULEY, AS TO SET A FIRE BECAUSE HE IS MAD AT HIS MOTHER, DOSENT IT MAKE YOU WONDER WHAT THE CHILD DOES AT HOME AND HOW THE PARENTS DICIPLINE HIM, FORGET THE TIME OUT AND LETS TALK ABOUT IT DICIPLINE, PARENTS NEED TO GET OVER THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE TO WORK FOR A LIVING, AND MAKE THE KIDS MIND AND BEHAVE, BOTH AT HOME AND IN PUBLIC, CHILDREN NOW DAYS ARE TAUGHT THAT IF YOUR PARENTS SPANK YOU ITS CHILD ABUSE, NOT TURE, ITS CALLED MAKING YOUR CHILDREN MIND, GOOD FOR ALL OF THE PARENTS THAT STILL SPANK, YOUR CHILDREN WILL RESPECT YOU FOR IT AND OUR SOCIETY WILL THANK YOU FOR NOT RAISING A GENERATION OF CRIMINALS......

April 15, 2009 at 8:07 a.m.
JACK24 said...

I agree that the parents should be held responsible. Too many children are being brought into this world- just for the sake of having a child and getting welfare. Once one has sex and it deteremines one is with child-things should change in ones life to provide a wonderful up bringing for the child. It doesnt in this day and age- many just have sex to get more assistance and the child suffers later-- no supervision, doesnt go to school, into drugs and criminal activity. Parents are totally responsible for childs actions- especially at the age of 9 years old. The Mother should have been watching him!!!

I TOTALLY AGREE ABOUT THE PARENTS! HOW DID THE WELFARE END UP IN THIS? YOU PROBABLY DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN.GET OVER IT!

April 15, 2009 at 11:49 a.m.
Perseus317 said...

Too many parents don't realize that parenting is a full time job. They use surrogate babysitters like the TV or video games, or the Internet. Without adequate supervision, children will get into things that they shouldn't, and it is the parent's responsibility to monitor the child's activities so as to prevent this. If this child is emotionally troubled, or if he has a fascination with fire, then all the more reason that he needs close supervision. In any case, the parents ARE responsible for supervising their child's activity.

April 15, 2009 at 11:52 a.m.
boysmom said...

To: MSPERSISTANT

Good Lord, Woman. Do you have any idea how rude it is to type all in caps? It is like screaming. Geez, people would give more credibility to your ideas if you "write" in a normal tone and check to be sure you spell correctly. Otherwise, you risk looking like someone ignorant that beats their kids to be certain they won't be criminals.

April 15, 2009 at 12:01 p.m.
JACK24 said...

To:boysmom

I agree with this comment. I also use all caps!

DICIPLINE? or Discipline

April 15, 2009 at 12:14 p.m.
gunnersmatecpo said...

I AGREE THAT CHILDREN SHOULD BE WATCHED AT ALL TIMES. IF YOU CANNOT TAKE THE TIME TO RAISE YOUR CHILDREN, DON'T HAVE ANY! IT IS GETTING MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE STATES TO FUND CHILD PROGRAMS FOR THE KID WHO ARE NOT BEING TAKEN CARE OF BY THEIR PARENTS AND THEN HAVE TO BE SHIPPED ACROSS THE STATE TO A SPECIAL NEEDS FACILITY. HAVING CHILDREN IS A BIG RESPONSIBILITY AND PEOPLE NEED TO JUST GROW UP AND FACE IT BEFORE HAVING KIDS. THIS IS NOT THE WAY OUR FUTURE SHOULD BE. WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THE STORE AND ALL THE MERCHANDISE LOST IN IT? SOMEBODY HAS TO. THE 9-YEAR OLD CAN'T BE HELD RESPONSIBLE.

April 15, 2009 at 12:45 p.m.
PaulaWog said...

I AGREE WITH AL THE POSTS ACTUALLY. MOM IS RESPONSIBLE TO RAISE AND TRAIN A CHILD IN PROPER BEHAVIOR BUT YOU CAN'T EXPECT A MOM (FEMALE) TO GO INTO A MENS BATHROOM WITH A 9 YEAR OLD. HE COMMITTED THE CRIME, NOT HER.

HE SHOULD DO HARD LABOR VOLUNTEER WORK ( FOR A 9 YEAR OLD) EVERY DAY AFTER SCHOOL AND SATURDAYS, FORGET "PLAY TIME". SOMETHING TO MAKE A DEVASTATING IMPACT TO HIM, SO IN THE FUTURE HE WILL THINK BEFORE HE REACTS.

MOM HOWEVER SHOULD HAVE TO GO TO SOME MANDATORY CLASS TO TEACH HER HOW TO DISCIPLINE A CHILD. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

THEY BOTH SHOULD BE ACCOUNTABLE.

April 15, 2009 at 12:46 p.m.
gunnersmatecpo said...

YES, I AGREE THAT THE CHILD SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO SOME DEGREE, BUT WHAT KIND OF ACCOUNTABILITY DO YOU HOLD A 9 YEAR OLD TO THAT DESTROYED MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PROPERTY? YOU CAN'T REALLY SEND THE KID TO JAIL OR TO A JUVENILE HALL, DOUBT THAT IF MOM CAN AFFORD TO PAY THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY FOR THE COST OF THE STORE AND ALL THE CONTENTS, SHE WOULDN'T BE SHOPPING AT A DOLLAR STORE IN THE FIRST PLACE. THE KID WAS OBVIOULSY MAD AT MOM BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T BUY HIM SOMETHING HE WANTED AT THE STORE AND HAD ACCESS TO MATCHES OR A LIGHTER TO START THE FIRE. THE MOM WILL PROBABLY GET SUED BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY WHICH WILL RECOVER JUST A SMALL FRACTION OF THE LOSS AND THE COST OF CLEAN UP, AND THE KID WILL GO OFF SCOTT FREE TO DO IT AGAIN LATER IN LIFE.

April 15, 2009 at 12:58 p.m.
tlist said...

We should approach this quandary the same way we approach handguns. Ban toilet paper.

April 15, 2009 at 2:03 p.m.
henderson said...

crtsports, are you really confused by the fact that a 9 year old "knows about fire?" Fire comes out of the stove of every home in the world and fireplaces, barbecue pits, etc. Teaching children the dangers of fire is one of the earliest life lessons. Do you know any 9 year olds? They're pretty big and I'm pretty sure they are all familiar with fire, water too probably.

It sounds like this kid is probably a spoiled brat who is not supervised and lacks discipline from his mother. There is no way a kid goes from being well-behaved to arson without signs along the way.

This delinquent in the making is the product of his environment. Kids can't raise themselves. He needs serious intervention now or this will become his lifelong pattern.

April 15, 2009 at 2:34 p.m.
crtsports said...

Henderson: What I was trying to convey was why does a nine year old child know how to use lighters or matches? I was not contesting the idea of hot/cold for stoves, etc. Someone that young should not have something like that in their possession.

From what I have seen in Dollar stores, I have never seen them sell lighters but I could be wrong with this certain store. But if they were not sold at this Dollar General that means the kid had a lighter in his pocket. Which turned out to be an almost fatal mistake. And I stand by the position that the mother needs to be prosecuted also.

April 15, 2009 at 7:04 p.m.
natrona said...

Prosecute a 9-year old? Prosecute a parent who does what 100% of parents do at least once--lose track of a child? Put the child in a supervised juvenile facility?

The kid knows what he did, and he knows he did something that resulted in the destruction of a business and jobs for seven people. His parents know it, too.

The business needs a compensation. A compassionate community would (1) let the parents talk to the child (2) let the fire chief discuss fire safety with the child (3) do yard sales, cake walks, and fundraisers to help the family compensate their debt to the business. Last of all, all of the above should forgive the child, and let him know that bad things sometimes happen when we do the wrong thing, and he might consider a career in fire safety to make up for the consequences of his bad decision to set a fire. He could have a better reason than most to keep fighting a bad fire and perhaps someday, save a life.

How the parents help this child grow up could make a child with problems become a man with answers.

The business must be paid back.

April 15, 2009 at 8:21 p.m.
brekfsklub said...

send the mother and child to the Taliban... make sure the parents in the community know the consequences of parental irresponsiblilty

April 15, 2009 at 10:50 p.m.
grownmykids said...

In response to the person that said the mom couldn't be responsible for what happened in the men's bathroom......

When my boys (22 and 19 now) were that age, I would walk them to the bathroom, hold open the door as they entered and say in a loud voice I'LL BE RIGHT HERE IF YOU HOLLER and then I would stay until they walked out.

I was protecting my kids from perverts, but I'll bet it would also have made them think twice about disrespecting the bathroom contents! or setting fires......

You can't be too vigilant in a public place where kids are involved.

April 16, 2009 at 12:28 a.m.
mviplady said...

The people that have left the comments about the parent being charged are so wrong. Why is it the parent is always to blame. This is a child who has set dumpsters on fire. He should not be able to get out. What happens the next time. Would it be different if someone really got hurt or maybe worse? A parent can not watch their child 24 hours 7 days aweek. So maybe all you people that have said this parent should be supervising do not have kids. The parent should not have charges as she did not commit the crime. The child did. I work very very close to this store, as he lives very close. I have talked to many kids that do know him. There is just no helping him. He has been a bad child. So as the police department is charging him, the parent will have to pay in the long run. If any of you have had a child that is unruly you would agree. The problem is like all you commenters ,that child really believes he will not have to answer for what he did. He is not worried because he is a kid. If you all would go see this building and have seen what that fire did, you might have a different oppion then you do. I personally hope they make that child pay back that million dollars. We are all responcible for our own actions and he should have to as well. We all know right from wrong at the age of 3. So need I say anymore? I hope he has to pay dearly NOT the parent...........

April 16, 2009 at 4:54 p.m.
Butterflysky15 said...

Trying to get money out of them is going to get us no where ...why not instead...make the child attend psychiatric sessions and help him to fully understand the consequences that could have derived from his actions. He's 9 years old, he can't be that far gone...yet. Then, I suggest penalizing the parents of their obvious lack of care for their child's whereabouts. Make them attend PARENTING CLASSES or get fined...and also some public service for families with troubled teenage kids.

April 16, 2009 at 10:22 p.m.
OTBanjo said...

First off, before making comments about certain aspects regarding this (or any other) story, you should read from more than one source. To wit: PaulaWog, Mom SHOULD have had her child under control, because nowhere does the story reflect that the TP that was set ablaze, was in the restroom. (More than likely, Mom was letting the kid run rampant, as if the employees were supposed to babysit for her, and the merchandise is for his entertainment, while she shops.) The Dollar General that I work for (in another state), has an entire aisle of toilet paper. In reading this story on another site, little Johnny Firebug got the matches off the shelf. DG sells cigarette lighters, grill lighters, kitchen matches, safety matches, etc. But only the cig. lighters are kept at the registers. As is the Corporate Way, its my understanding that most Dollar Generals should be laid out basically the same. About 6 months ago, I suppose for some marketing reason, the matches in our store were moved from the second highest shelf in the aisle (about 5 1/2 feet from the floor, approx. eye level for most ADULTS), to the second LOWEST shelf in the aisle (about 2 1/2 feet from the floor, approx. eye level for most CHILDREN) A few of us thought this was a bad move, for this specific reason. When I was growing up, if I'd even THOUGHT of doing something even half as bad, I'd of got my a$$ beat.Was that abuse? NO. Whatever happened to "Go out in the yard and get me a switch, and it better be thick enough!"? Ooh, maybe if we give him a couple of extra "time outs" this week, he'll learn his lesson and won't burn down the 7-11 if I don't buy him a slurpee... Maybe if parents weren't afraid of little Johnny or Suzy crying "Abuse!" to the authorities and actually took responsibility themselves and DISCIPLINED their kids, children might not be so out of hand these days. When I went to school, the worst you had to worry about was the playground bully stealing your lunch money. Now, you might get shot along w/your classmates, 'cause Johnny was havin' a bad day. In my opinion, the little firebug might only be nine, but he was PO'd at Mom, so he figured he'd set something on fire to get back at her. Therefore, HE KNEW THAT WHAT HE WAS DOING WAS WRONG. So, in my opinion, all parties involved are to blame. Government/authorities for blurring the line between discipline and abuse, because I feel if things were like they were 30 or more years ago, we as a country would not be where we are today. The mother, in this case. If your gonna birth 'em, (this goes for you too dads), TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR 'EM. 'Cause if their not destroying someone else's property, some nutjob might be lookin' to snatch them. Keep your eyes on them at ALL times. And finally Dollar General is also partially to blame. Since we all know children shouldn't play with matches or lighters, they shouldn't display these items where they are easily accessible to young hands. Luckily, nobody was injured. This time.

April 18, 2009 at 12:42 a.m.
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