published Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Apartment fire displaces family and other police news

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    Staff File Photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press -The badge of the Chattanooga Police Department adorns the shoulder of an officer.

Apartment fire displaces family

A Chattanooga family is homeless following an apartment fire that started with a cigarette.

The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 1:17 p.m. Tuesday and responded with several fire companies to 2250 E. 24th Street Courts, according to spokesman Bruce Garner.

Melinda Cox, 46, told firefighters she had been smoking in an upstairs bedroom and thought she had extinguished her cigarette. She left the room and when she returned, the bed was on fire.

Cox told firefighters she burned her hand trying to put the fire out. Realizing she could not stop the fire herself, she and her granddaughter safely got out of the apartment.

Firefighters contained the blaze to the bedroom, but the rest of the apartment had smoke and water damage, Garner said.

Hamilton County EMS treated Cox's hand, and no other injuries were reported.

3 arrested on drug charges

Chattanooga police arrested three people Tuesday after officers busted two marijuana grow labs in a house on East Street.

When officers executed a narcotics search warrant at 1213 E. 35th St. around 11 a.m., they found approximately 100 marijuana plants, a resale amount of crack cocaine and other drug paraphernalia including lighting equipment, fertilizers and reference material on growing marijuana, reported police spokeswoman Rebecca Royval.

At the home officers also seized a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun, a .410-gauge shotgun and an undisclosed sum of cash.

Police charged Allen Ray, 34, who owned the house, Alicia Ray, 36, and Jonathon Ray, 30, with possession of marijuana for resale, possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jonathon Ray is additionally charged with possession of crack cocaine for resale and possession of a controlled substance.

Prison escapee arrested Tuesday

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office picked up an escapee from the Southeastern Tennessee State Regional Correctional Facility on Tuesday night, according to Bledsoe County emergency dispatch.

Inmate Garland Godsey, 44, a minimum-custody prisoner who was serving a 25-year sentence for second-degree murder, was working as a trusty on state property surrounding the facility when he escaped late Sunday afternoon, according to a release from the Tennessee Department of Correction.

His prison sentence would have expired in 2018, officials said.

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