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Photos by Lindsey Rogers / Chattanooga Fire Department / Chattanooga firefighters work to contain an early-morning commercial fire at a 100-year-old former mattress factory at South Holtzclaw Avenue and East 13th Street. The building had been in the process of being converted to condominiums.

UPDATE: This story was updated at 11:40 a.m. to include more information.

An early-morning commercial fire at the corner of East 13th Street and South Holtzclaw Avenue struck a 100-year-old former mattress factory that was amid renovations to become one of the biggest new condominium projects yet on Chattanooga's redeveloping East Main Street corridor.

Chattanooga firefighters began battling the fire at 2:48 a.m. Saturday, finding a "fully invovled two-story blaze" as they arrived at the scene.

"The structure was burning from one end to the other," said a news release from the Chattanooga Fire Department.

"Crews set up aerial operations to extinguish the flames. It was a defensive attack because of the size of the fire and the building. Firefighters also put out a fire at a nearby structure and worked to keep flames from spreading any further."

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Factory Lofts Fire

No injuries have been reported, the release states. 

The cause of the fire will be under investigation, and mutual aid departments from across the area were working Chattanooga's fire halls and helped with a tractor-trailer fire in East Lake on Saturday morning.

The fire completely destroyed the century-old building, which was once the Mid-South Mattress factory but was being converted into 56 residential condominiums.

Fletcher Bright Co. owns the property and had been working on converting the 46,000-square-foot structure into an $8 million Factory Condos project for the past year. The developers began construction about three months ago and had hoped to complete the redevelopment by the end of 2021.

Fletcher Bright Vice President Cardon Smith said the fire destroyed the structure and the owners will have to develop other plans for the site.

"The building is completely gone so we're going to have to figure out where we go from here," Smith said Saturday after leaving the site of the overnight fire. "It's obviously a major setback, but we're not throwing in the towel. We're committed to the Southside and we're going to build something there."

Smith said the location is where Highland Park and downtown's Southside converge, and it's on a proposed seven-mile-long urban trail that would link 10 neighborhoods and potentially rival the city's Riverwalk.

Staff Writer Dave Flessner contributed to this report.

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