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The Chattanooga Fire Department responded just after 10 p.m. Tuesday to the Patten Towers apartments on 11th Street after smoke in the basement set off fire alarms.
Apartment tenants lined the street as smoke filled Georgia Avenue, obscuring the Pickle Barrel restaurant just across the street. More than a dozen fire trucks and emergency vehicles surrounded the building.
Michael Woods, who lives on the seventh floor, said the fire alarm goes off at least once a day in the buildings.
"I had a feeling this would happen," he said.
As of 10:30 p.m., dispatchers could not confirm any open flames and no injuries were reported, but the residents were evacuated as a safety precaution.