published Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Chattanooga: Fire burns empty warehouse at Enterprise South

A large warehouse burned this morning at Enterprise South, and high, gusty winds put some firefighters in danger while they were battling the flames.

No injuries were reported in connection with the fire, which was reported about 11:30 a.m., said Bruce Garner public information officer with the Chattanooga Fire Department. But one unit that had pullled up fairly close to the fire in order to use its aerial hose was almost engulfed in flames when the winds shifted, he said. The firefighters were able to pull the truck away without being injured and the only damage to the truck was some melted plastic, he said.

The fire started when a man using a cutting torch to remove pipe from the old building accidentally set the building on fire, Mr. Garner said.

With winds gusting from 20 to 25 mph, the flames spread quickly through the wooden structure. While the fire burned, a loud explosion was heard inside the building. Firefighters aren't sure, Mr. Garner said, but they suspect it could have been the acetylene tank the worker was using with his cutting torch.

Firefighters from 11 fire companies surrounded the structure and most of the blaze was eventually under control within a couple of hours, Mr. Garner said, but firefighters expected to remain on the scene throughout the afternoon putting out hot spots.

A fire investigator was called to the scene to confirm the cause of the fire, Mr. Garner said.

Chattanooga police, Hamilton County EMS and Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue also provided assistance on the scene.

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