published Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Update: Electrical fire forces evacuation of Patten Towers

Police and emergency vehicles outside of Patten Towers Tuesday night.
Police and emergency vehicles outside of Patten Towers Tuesday night.
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Rec. center closed

Brainerd Complex (1010 North Moore Rd) is closed to the public today and all programs, including swim classes, are cancelled for today.

Recreation center staff is working with the Chattanooga Fire Department and the Red Cross to provide shelter for those misplaced by the Patten Towers fire last night.

Patten Towers
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An electrical fire broke out around 10 p.m. last night in the basement of Patten Towers, forcing an evacuation of all 241 residents, according to a news release from the Chattanooga Fire Department.

Apartment tenants lined the street as smoke filled Georgia Avenue, obscuring the Pickle Barrel restaurant just across the street. More than a dozen fire trucks and emergency vehicles surrounded the building.

Captain David Thompson said in a news release that the basement filled with black, acrid smoke and the intense flames shot the temperature up to 1,500 degrees.

The firefighters used dry powder extinguishers to get most of the blaze under control. However, to keep the fire from re-igniting, power to the building was cut off.

Michael Woods, who lives on the seventh floor, said the fire alarm goes off at least once a day in the buildings.

“I had a feeling this would happen,” he said.

The Red Cross is opening two shelters for residents displaced by the fire, according to a news release. The first was at Brainerd Recreation Center. Another 100 residents will be transported to the East Brainerd Church of Christ.

The exact cause of the fire is undetermined. It is not known at this time how long it will take to repair the damage before it’s safe for the residents to return to Patten Towers.

No injuries were reported.

Residents are being allowed back into Patten Towers to retrieve their belongings.

The Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga is at the Brainerd Recreation Center to serve evacuees.

This morning, The Salvation Army served breakfast to 300 individuals and are preparing to serve lunch and dinner today and all three meals tomorrow.

Donations are needed to aid and can be made by visiting or by calling 1-800-Sal-Army. Monetary donations can also be mailed to 822 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403.

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