Police raided the home of Michael Motts at 2802 Fairview Drive at 10 p.m. Sunday as part of an investigation into bomb making.
Sgt. Jerri Weary, a spokeswoman for the Chattanooga Police Department, said police had received information from a confidential source that there were one or more explosive devices inside Mr. Motts' home. Police were using robots to search the home, she said.
Mr. Motts was arrested at 7 p.m. Sunday on an outstanding warrant of simple assault. Mr. Motts was being cooperative during police questioning and he confirmed that at least one explosive device was inside the home, Sgt. Weary said.
Homes in the area will be evacuated, Sgt. Weary said, depending on what is found inside and the proximity to the home.
"Because of the volatility of the explosives, care has to be taken to find them, secure them and move them," she said.
Sgt. Weary said law enforcement officials were informed that black powder was involved in the possible explosives and that they would search for "anything and everything" involved with explosives, including powder, shrapnel, chemicals, wiring and detonation devices.
"It has the potential to have a very large blast zone," Sgt. Weary said.
Sgt. Weary said she didn't know Mr. Motts' intentions or possible targets. He was still being questioned Sunday evening.
Mr. Motts has a history of previous misdemeanor arrests, Sgt. Weary said. He also has a military background, although his branch or extent of participation was not known Sunday night.
Sgt. Weary said the search of the home and removal of any explosives could last into the night and into the morning, depending on what is found.
"All of this is playing out as we speak," Sgt. Weary said shortly after 10 p.m.
Paramedics, firefighters and rescue crews were standing by in the parking lot of Hamilton Baptist Church, 3700 Bonny Oaks Drive, which law enforcement agents used as a staging area before entering Mr Motts' home.
Members of Chattanooga Police Department's Bomb Squad and SWAT team, along with agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved in the raid.