An early morning fire in Hixson destroyed the homes of four families.
The blaze on Leaside Lane was worsened by a ruptured gas line, and firefighters could not find a cut-off valve when they arrived on the scene, Battalion Chief Rick Sewell said.
Everyone escaped the blaze, according to Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner.
Officers were called to 1282 Leaside Lane about 3:30 a.m., he said.
Resident James Gonser said he woke up to popping noises and saw flames inside his townhouse. He tried to use a fire extinguisher, but the smoke was too thick.
The fire eventually spread to three other townhomes. Three of those affected had "extensive" damage, Garner said.
Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.