Photo and story by Bruce Garner
Chattanooga firefighters responded to a reported house at 1716 Monterey Drive fire shortly after 3:00 this afternoon. Captain Travis Williams, the incident commander, said smoke and flames were visible when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. Captain Williams said the fire was spreading rapidly, with high winds pushing the flames across the house. In addition to the four fire companies already responding, Captain Williams called for an extra company to help deal with the intense fire.
The firefighters made entry into the house, locating the seat of the fire in the basement, but the flames had penetrated into the walls and got up into the attic. It took the firefighters roughly 40 minutes to get the blaze under control. An estimate on the dollar loss was not available, but the damage to the house was substantial.
A resident of the house, John Lewis, told firefighters that he was soldering a copper water line with a torch in the basement when must have caught some paper or plastic on fire. Mr. Lewis said he tried to put the fire out himself first, but was unsuccessful and had to get out. While trying to put the fire out, he received a relatively minor cut on his hand. No other injuries were reported. The cause of the fire appears to be accidental, but an official determination will be made by a fire investigator confirm the cause of the fire.
Mr. Lewis lived with one other adult in the house, who was not there at the time. The owner said the house was fully insured and they would be staying with family for the next few days.
Chattanooga police, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue, Hamilton County EMS, and EPB all provided valuable assistance on the scene.
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