Fireworks Possibly Cause of House Fire in East Ridge, Tennessee

EAST RIDGE, TN - Saturday, July 1,2006 - 4:30 pm - City of East Ridge Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire at 407 Tanager Circle off of Blue Jay Drive. The first person to arrive on the scene was East Ridge Fire Chief 806. He immediately reported heavy smoke showing and requested the engine company, Engine 2, that was coming in behind him to lay a hose line from the hydrant at Tanager Circle and Meadowlark Trail. Within seconds Engine 2 was in front of the house and firefighters quickly pulled an inch and 3/4 hose line of the truck.

The two firefighters made their initial attack on the fire coming through the roof next to the garage. Firefighters then quickly made their way into the garage in an attempt to catch the fire before it could spread. East Ridge Squad 1 arrived in minutes and assisted with trying to gain access to the fire in the walls.

Unfortunately, the fire had already traveled through a crawl space and into the attic. The heavy smoke coming from the eve vents was a quick indicator that the firefighters would have to redirect their efforts and make an immediate attack in the attic. Assistant Chief Frank Pate with the Chattanooga Hamilton County Rescue Squad was in the neighborhood and quickly volunteered his assistance with an attack through the front door of the house.

Deputy Chief Mike Flinn with the East Ridge Fire Department also arrived on the scene and quickly took command. Within minutes Deputy Chief Flinn knew the near 100 degree temperatures out side as well as the fact that most of the firefighting was going to be taking place in the hot attic crawl space would put quite a toll on his firefighters. Not to mention the fact that some of his firefighters were already out of their district assisting with another fire in Catoosa County. The deputy chief called for mutual aid assistance to get some fresh man power and additional help to the scene.

Fire companies from Red Bank, Tri-Community, Rossville and Walker County were dispatched to help. The Chattanooga/Hamilton County Rescue Squad was also dispatched to the scene with water and other cool drinks for the already exhausted firefighters. Deputy Chief Mike Flinn said, all the firefighters in the area do a magnificent job, there is no reason to take a chance on one of your own getting injured when all the fire departments work so well together. Firefighters from all the neighboring departments always work together as a team.

A father, mother, and two boys were home at the time the fire broke out. The father and two boys were out in the yard when they noticed smoke coming from one of the eves. The father quickly got his wife out of the house and called 9-1-1. The homeowner said the fire department arrived very quickly, unfortunately the fire also moved very quickly. Although the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, the fire was possibly believed to have started by fireworks being shot off in the neighborhood. Deputy Chief Mike Flinn added that fireworks are illegal to be fired off in Hamilton County and that if they cause damage such as this the person responsible could face criminal charges.

The value of the home, property and contents is nearly $600,000. The estimate of damages is nearly $200,000. Fortunately firefighters with the East Ridge Fire Department were able to aggressively knock the fire down with their primary attack saving almost all of the families valuables and personal belongings.