published Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

No injuries in downtown Chattanooga apartment fire

Smoke rises over a portion of downtown Chattanooga, resulting from a fire at a building at 510 E Fifth St.
Smoke rises over a portion of downtown Chattanooga, resulting from a fire at a building at 510 E Fifth St.
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    Photo by Tracey Trumbull.
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Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner said no one was injured in the fire this morning on East Fifth Street but the heat was so intense it melted a firefighter’s face shield.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” he said of the fire at an apartment building on Brabson Hill.

Garner said most of the fire was contained to the roof and rooftop deck, but one of the six apartment units might have some smoke and water damage, he said.

Nine fire companies responded, including one that had been training blocks away at UTC, Garner said.

Chattanooga firefighters had battled a rooftop blaze early this morning at the Brabson Hill building at 510 E Fifth St. Large, dark plumes of smoke could be seen from several vantage points downtown.

Apartment resident Mario Piccolo said he smelled somthing as he watered his flowers on the roof deck of building.

Minutes later, he said he saw a lot of smoke coming from the roof and hurried to get out.

“I was more scared once I got down here and realized what was going on,” he said.

Piccolo said he had lived in one of the six Brabson Hill apartments for about 8 months. He said it appeared as if most of the damage was on the roof where property owner Pam O’Dwyer had built a deck.

O’Dwyer said she had no information about damages.

Jack McDonald, who lives nearby and who also owns property in the area, said it was a frightening, smokey scene.

“I looked up and it [smoke] was just billowing out,” he said.

Read more in tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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