published Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Chattanooga: Lightning strikes likely cause of several fires

  • photo
    Firefighters work inside the building to open a door to another room that is full of flames.
    Bruce Garner

A fierce thunderstorm with heavy rainfall and lightning that lit up the sky caused street flooding and scattered power outages Tuesday night and early this morning.

As the storms intensified, Chattanooga firefighters responded to several fires thought to be caused by lightning strikes, according to Bruce Garner, department spokesman.

Fire investigators will determine the causes of the fires, he said.

Among the fires crews responded to during the storm are three described by Garner as the most extensive in terms of damage:

-- 6329 Jocelyn Drive

Battalion Chief Steve Swanson said flames were visible on the outside of the house when the first firefighters arrived.

Swanson said firefighters were able to get the fire out fairly quickly.

No injuries were reported, Garner said.

-- 2428 Baskette Way

This fire was visible from a few miles away as firefighters rushed to

the scene at 2428 Baskette Way. The structures were described as townhomes. Battalion Chief Bob Dixon said a 4-unit townhome complex was engulfed in flames.

Dixon called for an extra two fire companies to help get the blaze under control. Damage was extensive. Dixon said it appeared that everyone in the townhomes got out safely, Garner noted in the release.

One firefighter was injured when a hose coupling struck him in the head. Dixon said the firefighter was transported by Hamilton County EMS to a local hospital, where he received a few stitches and was released.

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    Fire at Lectrus Inc. at 1919 Polymer Drive.
    Bruce Garner

-- 1919 Polymer Drive

Chattanooga firefighters with six fire companies rushed to a commercial fire at Lectrus Inc. at 1919 Polymer Drive. Flames were shooting through the roof of the large, metal building when the first firefighters arrived.

After about an hour, most of the fire had been brought under control, according to the news release. The fire damage to the building and its contents was extensive. Swanson said one firefighter was treated on the scene by Hamilton County EMS for heat exhaustion.

All of the employees in the building had made it out safely when the fire was discovered. Workers told firefighters that they saw a bright

flash and then heard what sounded like an explosion. Moments later, fire was discovered in the building, Garner said in the release.

Paul Reynolds, production supervisor for the night shift, said the

building was used mostly for storage and maintenance. He said Lectrus

employs about 250 people and makes electrical enclosures and solar

integrators. He said the fire will affect part of the operation, but not

all of it.

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