Piano store owner reacts to devastating fire

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — An early morning fire devastated two businesses on Lee Highway. Chattanooga firefighters needed over an hour to tame the blaze at General Appliance Warehouse this morning. Now business owners try to figure out the next step after sustaining huge losses.

At 12:16 Tuesday morning, twelve Chattanooga fire trucks responded to the two-alarm fire. When they got on scene, crews found flames bursting through the roof, and couldn’t immediately start hosing down the fire.

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“Electrical service lines broke away from the building, fell to the ground and started jumping around and sparking and arcing,” Chattanooga Fire spokesperson, Bruce Garner.

Firefighters then had to wait until EPB arrived to deactivate those wires.

The fire completely destroyed General Appliance Warehouse, the top business in the building. All four walls were blown out. Even the metal frames of the building bent from the heat.

“We had firefighters with handheld hose lines and we also had several aerials spraying water from on top trying to get the fire under control,” Garner said.

But thanks in part to a concrete floor, Summitt Pianos and Organs, which sits underneath the appliance store, received minimal fire damage. Unfortunately, water flooded many pianos, and smoke ruined others.

Owner Ted Summitt wasn’t even aware of the fire until his mother texted him after seeing the morning news.

“It’s sad. You know we’ve been here a long time,” said Ted Summitt, the owner of Summitt Pianos and Organs.

No one was hurt in the fire, but Summitt says he’s most worried about his workers moving forward.

“My biggest concern is for my employees,” Summitt said. “You know their livelihood depends on us selling pianos and staying in business here, so it was a sad morning to see this.”

They were able to salvage the store’s computer and all important documents. Summitt says they plan on moving into a new building as soon as possible.

“We’ll move what we can out, find a new location and try to start doing business as usual,” Summitt said.

Firefighters were able to stop the flames from spreading to nearby buildings. And officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."