published Monday, March 17th, 2014

Electrical fire leads to power loss, evacuation of Jaycee Towers downtown

  • photo
    Fire equipment is shown outside the Jaycee Towers in the Golden Gateway where a fire took place today. Power was knocked out in the building, forcing an evacuation of its approximately 150 residents. Contributed photo provided by Bruce Garner of the Chattanooga Fire Department.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Residents of the Jaycee Towers in the Golden Gateway were evacuated today when an electrical fire broke out in a mechanical room on the eighth floor, leading to all electrical power being knocked out in the high-rise building.

Chattanooga Fire Department firefighters extinguished the fire in less than 10 minutes, but an abundance of smoke led to an evacuation of those residents on the eighth floor and higher ones.

A fire department news release noted that once the fire was put out, the evacuation ended and most of the residents were asked to shelter in place.

There were no fire-related injuries reported, but paramedics with Hamilton County EMS did check out some residents who needed medical attention, the release said.

However, power to the entire 18-story building was knocked out, and EPB technicians told the fire department that repairs could take hours and might even stretch into tomorrow before full power is restored.

That resulted in fire officials deciding to evacuate the entire building that is home to 150 residents.

The release said the American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee set up a temporary shelter at the South Chattanooga Recreation Center on West 40th Street, and plans called for the use of CARTA buses this afternoon to take the residents to the shelter.

Additionally, the Salvation Army of Chattanooga is providing assistance with its canteen feeding residents, according to the release.

It was also stated that there were reports of emergency lights not working in some portions of the building and, the fire department release said, representatives of the fire marshal's office will conduct a follow-up investigation.

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