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June 10, 2023 marked one year since a Chattanooga landmark was destroyed by an intentionally set fire. The investigation remains ongoing and CFD investigators are looking for new information from the public to move the arson case forward. Tips poured in following the fire last year, but they did not lead to any arrests. A reward is on the table.

Press Release from June 2022:

There are new developments in the investigation into the massive fire that heavily damaged the Phillips Chapel and Chauncey-Goode Auditorium in Downtown Chattanooga. The local landmarks were central parts of the former Highland Park Baptist Church and Tennessee Temple University. Chattanooga Fire Department investigators say the blaze was intentionally set and they are looking for a person of interest in the case. Still photos taken from surveillance footage show a man on a bicycle in the area at the time of the fire. The CFD is asking for the public’s help identifying the person seen in the pictures as investigators continue building their arson case. The three-alarm fire sparked a huge response by Chattanooga firefighters and many other agencies, spanning 24 hours and resulting in parts of the buildings being torn down due to fire damage. Companies were called to 1906 Bailey Avenue on Friday, June 10, 2022 at 7:13 PM after a passerby spotted smoke and notified 911. The property is now part of the Redemption to the Nations Church campus. It is located near the corner of Union Ave and South Orchard Knob Avenue. Crews from Station 5 in Highland Park saw the smoke from the fire hall as they were leaving and found heavy, black smoke coming from all four sides of the church, as well as the roof, on arrival. Due to the conditions and size of the structure and adjoining/surrounding buildings, more companies were brought to the scene. Firefighters made entry multiple times to locate the fire and they attacked flames in several locations between the first and third floor. Officials from the church advised that the vacant buildings were structurally unsafe. At that time, everyone was evacuated and defensive firefighting operations got underway. Ladder trucks were placed on all sides of the buildings for elevated master streams to contain the fire and protect adjacent structures. Twenty one of the CFD’s 26 companies were on the scene- more than 100 personnel. It was a very taxing operation for everyone involved. Our Tri-State Mutual Aid Association partners from across the region filled in at our fire halls and answered calls while the CFD worked this major incident. In addition to our Blue Shift personnel on the scene and members of our command staff, the following agencies also responded: Hamilton County 911’s Incident Dispatch Unit, Hamilton County EMS, CPD, Public Works, Tennessee American Water, CFD’s Fleet Division, CFD’s Investigations Division, CFD Special Operations, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Rescue’s Rehab Unit, Chattanooga Land Development Office, city building inspectors and the Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management. There were no injuries.

Investigators have worked tirelessly on this case, piecing information and evidence together. The staff from the Redemption to the Nations Church has been extremely helpful throughout this process, assisting the CFD along the way and we appreciate their efforts to aid investigators. We also thank the Chattanooga Police Department, TBI, and ATF for their assistance. We have heard from many people who have shared their memories from events held at these well-known Chattanooga structures through the years. Thousands have attended church services, meetings, weddings and graduations there. The CFD is dedicated to bringing this case to a close and finding who was responsible for setting the fire. Anyone with information is asked to call the Tennessee Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. A cash award of up to $5,000 is available for tips that lead to an arrest.

 church arson suspectchurhcchurch fire 2

A new fire station is coming to Chattanooga to provide enhanced service to the Eastdale community! The Chattanooga Fire Department is excited to break ground on a state-of-the art Station 15 on Shallowford Road. This project has been years in the making and it’s exciting to see it finally come to fruition under Mayor Tim Kelly’s administration. Old Station 15 will be demolished and the new fire station will be built on the same footprint.

The current building, built in 1960, is far obsolete and no longer fits the needs of the CFD due to size restrictions. Firefighters have been living and working in cramped quarters in the outdated facility.

The new fire station will be built by Robert Roberts LLC at a cost of $4.3 million. It will go from a single-bay station to a two-bay, 9,500 square foot building that will have space to accommodate more personnel and apparatus, allowing for further expansion of the fire department as Chattanooga continues to grow in population. It will have a kitchen, living area, sleeping rooms, showers, locker rooms and a gym.

The CFD command staff has been pushing and advocating for a new Station 15 for a number of years and the department received the capital funding for the project thanks to the City Council and Mayor Kelly’s staff. Engine 15 and the personnel that work at Fire Station 15 on all three of our rotating 24-hour shifts will be relocated to Station 6 on Bonny Oaks Drive for the duration of construction.

“We are thrilled to see the Station 15 project moving forward and we are so grateful for the support from our city leaders,” said Chattanooga Fire Chief Phil Hyman. “It will create a much better working environment for our firefighters and it is what the CFD needs as we look to the future of our department and our city.”

To ensure the fastest response times to emergencies in Station 15’s response area while construction is underway, Chattanooga city leaders have installed stop lights in the Wilcox Tunnel to allow fire trucks to go through the tunnel. This was made possible through a collaborative effort between the CFD, the Chattanooga Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the Department of Technology Services. Currently, our crews must use routes that go around the tunnel because it is too narrow for them to fit with other vehicles. Stopping traffic and allowing fire apparatus to go through will cut down on travel time and enable firefighters to get to calls faster.

The new Fire Station 15 will be a model design for future fire station builds as the CFD continues working to meet the city’s increased service needs, including a new location in Black Creek. Nine new firefighter positions have already been added to the department for a presence and fire protection in that area with more personnel to come in future budget years. 

Station 15 rendering

Four people were taken to the hospital Saturday morning from the scene of a house fire in Alton Park. CFD Red Shift companies were called to the 3700 block of Dorris Street at 5AM on 6/3/23. Quint 14 got on the scene and received reports of at least one victim trapped inside the residence. They made entry and started searching, locating an elderly, wheelchair-bound woman on the floor in the back bedroom. She had activated her medical alert device, notifying 911 that she was still inside her home. Quint 14 personnel carried her outside and started treating her with oxygen. The victim’s son and his infant twins made it out of the burning home after he broke a window and crawled out of it with his babies, suffering lacerations to his arms in the process. He took the twins to a nearby relative’s home and rushed back to the scene to try to save his mother. He broke her bedroom window with a brick, but there was too much smoke and he could not get to her. Thankfully, firefighters had her out within minutes. All four victims (mother, son and two grandchildren) suffered smoke inhalation and were transported to the hospital for observation. As Quint 14 was doing their search and rescue, Squad 1 and Battalion 1 arrived. Battalion 1 took command and Squad 1 established a supply line. Ladder 1 stretched an attack line from Quint 14 and went inside to combat the fire and protect 14’s crew. Squad 1 then did a secondary search. The fire was brought under control in a few minutes. EMS arrived on scene and began treating the victims. Then ventilation was established and overhaul began. Quint 1 searched the other side of the duplex, which was vacant. The fire caused significant damage to the structure. It appears to be accidental and electrical in nature. Quint 14, Ladder 1, Squad 1, Quint 1, Engine 9, Squad 20, Battalion 1, Battalion 3, CFD investigators, HCEMS, and CPD responded.


The home where this fire occurred is directly across the street from a house that burned last week on 5/25/23, displacing six people. The May 25th fire was caused by a malfunctioning dryer. 

Dorris St rescue

Green Shift firefighters worked a two-car motor vehicle accident on Tuesday 5/30/23 just before 9AM on 4th Avenue at the 24 Westbound off ramp. One vehicle rollover with one patient trapped. Engine 5, Ladder 5, Squad 1, Squad 13 and Battalion 1 responded, along with CFD Operations Chief. It took crews 10-12 minutes to extricate the patient. The extent of their injuries is unknown.

4th Ave extrication

Chattanooga firefighters tackled a fire on Memorial Day at a house on Olive Street. At 8:30 PM on 5/29/23, Red Shift companies were called to a residence in the 1700 block. Smoke was coming from the eaves and flames were spotted at the back of the home. All of the residents were out of the structure upon CFD’s arrival. Firefighters made a quick attack and knockdown on the fire in the attic, getting it under control by 8:53 PM. Then they did reassessments to make sure they got to the seat of the fire and extinguished all hotspots. The cause of the fire is unknown. The American Red Cross will be assisting two adults and one child displaced by the fire. Engine 4, Ladder 5, Engine 5, Quint 10, Squad 1, Squad 13, Battalion 1, and Battalion 3 responded, along with CPD, EPB and HCEMS.

Olive St house fire

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Photo by Mike Williams