A family is displaced and the state fire marshal’s office is investigating after a fire broke out at East Gate Apartments on Silver Street in the early hours of Saturday morning.
According to Tullahoma Fire Chief Richard Shasteen, the department received the call of a “toy box on fire” at around 1:19 a.m.
When crews arrived on scene, Shasteen said, fire was coming out of two upstairs apartment windows and heading up into the roof.
Crews, led by Capt. Jasen Damron, immediately got to work containing the fire and preventing its spread to either the attic or to other apartments.
Apartment B4 was the only apartment to see fire damage, Shasteen said, though apartment B2, located underneath B4, sustained some water damage due to fire suppression. Two more adjacent apartments, B5 and B7, also sustained minimal water damage, but there was no additional damage to any other apartments.
There were no reported injuries due to the fire, Shasteen said, crediting the smart actions of residents inside the building.
“The neighbor across the hallway attempted to extinguish [the fire] with a fire extinguisher,” Shasteen said. While the neighbor was successful in extinguishing the flames and helping evacuate the family inside the apartment, the fire then reignited and he was “unable to get it completely out.”
In addition to applauding the residents’ self-evacuation, Shasteen also credited Damron’s leadership and his team’s action in keeping the fire contained.
“The crew … did an outstanding job getting that fire under control,” he said. “They focused their water in exactly the right spots and prevented that fire from spreading into the attic or to the adjacent apartments.”
The cause of the fire is still undetermined, according to Shasteen. The state fire marshal’s office is currently investigating the incident in order to determine how the blaze began.
“We list the cause as undetermined right now but currently under investigation,” Shasteen said.
The family in B4 was put up in a hotel in the area free of charge thanks to a company called 1-800-BOARDUP, Shasteen said.
According to Shasteen, 1-800-BOARDUP is a company that assists with emergency situations such as fires. The company will help secure the scene as well as assist with minor temporary repairs, such as cutting out plywood to temporarily seal windows blown out by fires.
“They also have a service that will place people for the night in a hotel at no charge to the people,” Shasteen said, “and they also help them try to get other help if they need it.”
While 1-800-BOARDUP got the family a place to stay for the night, Shasteen said the fire department will be helping the affected family further as the investigation continues.
Erin McCullough may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.