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The men and women of the Chattanooga Fire Department are mourning the loss of one of our own. It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Captain Tom Montgomery, a 25-year veteran of the department. Captain Montgomery, 51, passed away Friday night (9/8/23) and his death has left our firefighters holding tight to memories of him at the fire halls and out on calls working together. Tom came to us on October 15, 1997 from the Public Works Division. He served in our Supply Division before being assigned to the Training Division as a new recruit and then became a sworn firefighter. He brought many skills to the table from his outdoor background that made him an asset on our Hazardous Materials Team and our Urban Search and Rescue Team. He had an illustrious career and worked his way through the ranks, becoming a captain in 2008. He continued to provide leadership in that role throughout the rest of his career. He worked on engines, ladders and squads and had a wealth of experience on each of those apparatus. At the end of his career, he served North Chattanooga as a captain on Engine 12 Blue Shift. His personal and professional contributions to the department and the community will be greatly missed. Our thoughts remain with his loved ones and his extended CFD family during this time. Funeral arrangements will be private at the request of Tom’s family. Counseling services are being provided for firefighters.

This moving poem was written about Captain Montgomery by his coworker and friend, Captain John Long (Quint 14 Blue Shift):
“I hope you find big water and fish on the fire other side, Tom.
In the heart of the mountains, where the wild rivers flow,
Lived Tom, with a spirit that always did glow.
Adventures he sought, with friends by his side,
Creek boating, and camping, with nature as his guide.
In his cabin of logs, perched high on the peak,
He found solace and joy, the quiet he'd seek.
But in bustling town, or deep forest glen,
With skillet or pot, he'd cook now and then.
Rod in hand the Crappie he’d land, catching his fill for a tasty meal
Fish tacos he’d make for his friends’ delight,
Stomachs full on a summer’s night.
On every call, amidst the fray,
Tom stood calm, come what may.
Where chaos roared and flames showing, guiding the fight with water flowing.
So here's to dear Tom, and the life that he led,
To the memories shared, and the tears that we shed.
His spirit remains, in the breeze and the stream,
Forever in our hearts, he will always be.”

Captain Tom Montgomery

A suspect has been taken into custody and faces multiple charges in connection with damages done to the Chattanooga Masonic Center. Kadum Harwood, 29, was arrested Monday evening in Catoosa County, GA and he will be extradited to Hamilton County, TN. He is charged with arson, vandalism, burglary and reckless endangerment. At 2:11 AM on 9/4/23, firefighters responded to the Masonic Lodge at 551 W 21st Street on a fire alarm activation. When CFD personnel arrived on scene, they found a fire on the left front exterior of the building which was quickly extinguished. Also, the front doors were open and as crews made entry, they found another small fire inside the structure which had activated the sprinkler system. The sprinklers effectively extinguished the interior fire. Along with fire and water damage, there was also damage to the building from vandalism. Through the course of a multi-agency investigation involving CFD investigators and law enforcement, Harwood was identified as the suspect in the case.

Harwood mug shot for web

A fire at East Lake Academy of Fine Arts is under investigation. At 10:36 AM on Friday 9/1/23, Chattanooga Fire was called to the school at 2700 E 34th Street on reports of a small fire in the second floor boys bathroom. The School Resource Officer extinguished the fire and CFD personnel ventilated the structure. One teacher suffered some smoke inhalation, but denied treatment by HCEMS. A CFD investigator and fire inspector responded, along with Engine 9, Quint 14, Engine 5, Ladder 5, Ladder 1, Ladder 13, Squad 20, Battalion 1, Battalion 2, and Battalion 3 Blue Shift. The entire school was evacuated until fire officials deemed it safe for students to return to the building. There were no other injuries. Great work by the school staff executing their fire evacuation protocols and by the SRO for taking quick action to put out the fire.

East Lake Academy of Fine Arts fire

Two people were transported to the hospital following a duplex fire Wednesday afternoon off Wilcox Boulevard. At 1:21 PM on 8/30/23, Blue Shift personnel responded to the 1400 block of Roanoke Avenue to a residential fire involving a duplex with one apartment in the front and one apartment in the back of the structure. Residents in the rear apartment had smoke coming through their wall, called 911 and escaped. One adult and one juvenile were taken to the hospital with possible smoke inhalation. CFD’s Special Operations Chief happened to be at the traffic light on Wilcox Boulevard when the call came out and spotted smoke. He pulled into the scene and began relaying information to dispatch and incoming companies. Engine 4 arrived and made an interior attack on the front unit where the fire was located. They had a quick knockdown, containing the fire to the front unit where no one was home. Other crews assisted firefighting operations, including searches of the residence, ventilation, and overhaul. The American Red Cross will be assisting three impacted residents. The cause of the fire will be under investigation. Engine 4, Engine 5, Ladder 5, Quint 10, Squad 1, Battalion 1, Battalion 3, HCEMS, CPD, CFD Investigations, CFD Safety Chief, CFD Special Ops Chief, and EPB responded.

Roanoke Ave duplex fire

As storms came through our area Monday night, lightning struck a North Chattanooga home and caused a fire. Green Shift companies responded to the 1100 block of Longholm Court at 6:18 PM on 8/28/23. Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack on fire in the attic, stopping it from spreading. The fire was under control by 6:42 PM. It was contained to the attic, however, there’s extensive damage to the residence, including smoke and water damage. No one was home at the time and there were no injuries. A witness called 911 to report flames coming from the roof which allowed CFD personnel to quickly respond. Quint 16, Quint 17, Ladder 1, Squad 1, Engine 12, Battalion 1, Battalion 3, HCEMS and CPD were on the call. Two firefighters were transported to the hospital with minor injuries following the fire response. They were treated and released.

Longholm Ct house fire

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Fire Administration
910 Wisdom Street (map)
Chattanooga, TN 37406
(423) 643-5600
(423) 643-5610 (fax)

Fire Prevention Bureau
910 Wisdom Street (map)
Chattanooga, TN 37406
(423) 643-5618
(423) 643-5611 (fax)

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