High Rise Fire Displaces Elderly Chattanooga Residents

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF)- At Jaycee Towers, you can see animals in shopping carts, carriers, and on leashes.

They are all displaced, but what’s worse is that that their owners are too.

George Clingan, a resident, says, "The manager came knocking on the door telling everybody to evacuate."

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About 150 residents at Jaycee Towers had to be evacuated.

Clingan adds, "Some of them are going to Dogwood and I’m going to Boynton. I have a friend down there."

Others are going to the South Chattanooga Recreation Center, thanks to the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Bruce Garner with the Chattanooga Fire Department, says, "They found the flames were in a utility type room where there’s a lot of electrical connections .. that type of thing."

The fire was put out quickly on the 8th floor, but it knocked out power to the entire building and the smoke caused a lot of problems as well.

Garner adds, "There was a lot of concern initially because of the smoke, it might harm some of the residents."

Residents with preexisting conditions were at risk, but there was another problem according to residents, the emergency lights were not working, so they couldn’t see that well to navigate down several flights of stairs.

Garner says, "The emergency lighting should work if there’s a power failure in the building."

Because of that, the fire marshal’s office was called in to investigate.

Clingan adds, "I thank God for our firemen."

Residents say no one was seriously injured because of the firefighters on scene.

They used special equipment called stair chairs to get people out of the building, and at least one disabled resident was carried out by a firefighter.

Clingan ads, "Boy, they do a good job, man."

Those are the sentiments, as crews continue to air out the building with high powered fans and monitor carbon monoxide levels.

The Chattanooga Fire Department says no fire-related injuries were reported, but paramedics with Hamilton County EMS did check out a couple of residents who needed medical attention.

There’s no word on when the residents will be able to return home.

McKamey has agreed to take care of all the displaced pets.