Although Chattanooga firefighters were able to save a commercial building from a truck fire Thursday afternoon, a vacant house in St. Elmo was destroyed by a fire that couldn't be extinguished in time last night.
Employees at Woodbridge Manufacturing noticed thick, black smoke coming from the diesel shop owned by ADM shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The business, located at 1200 Judd Road, had smoke pouring out of the roof and vents in the building when the six fire companies arrived on the scene.
Capt. Bill Dautrich with Quint 10 said that the fire was consuming a semi-tractor that was parked inside the diesel shop. Because of the fiberglass, tires and fuel, there was a lot of smoke that could be seen from quite far off, officials said.
However, the firefighters were able to cut their way into the building and get the blaze under control quickly, saving most of the building. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire is currently undetermined.
The home located at 5400 Glenn Falls in St. Elmo, however, was not so fortunate. Firefighters received the alarm that the vacant two-story home was on fire at approximately 6:40 p.m. and responded with several fire companies.
Capt. David Thompson Jr., the incident commander, said the entire house was engulfed in flames by the time the firefighters from several area fire stations arrived.
Officials said that the fire was difficult to combat because of the house's location. It is on a hill that can only be accessed by a narrow, steep road, which kept the fire trucks from getting very close. It took the firefighters an hour to get the majority of the fire extinguished, and they had to remain on the scene much longer than that to put out hot spots.
No injuries were reported, and neighbors said the house had only recently become vacant. A dollar loss estimate of the damage is not yet available, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County EMS and EPB provided assistance at the scenes.