Patten Towers fire reveals a mess in need of repairs

photo Relocated Patten Towers residents settle in at the Brainerd Recreation Complex being operated by the Red Cross after an electrical fire Tuesday night forced 241 residents to be evacuated.

Patten Towers may finally be getting the attention it should have had years ago.

It took a large fire in the basement that decimated the 1906 building's electrical switch-box, which apparently had not been updated enough in recent decades to handle ordinary appliances such as microwaves and coffee makers.

And it took a pressing need to find long-term shelter for the 241 residents who were evacuated Tuesday night from the 11-story federally subsidized hotel-turned-apartment-building.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and the facilities manager of PK Management, Patten Towers' owner, said Friday that fire repairs will take six to eight more weeks.