UPDATE 5: 16 families displaced after large fire destroys town homes
EAST RIDGE, HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Officials says 16 families are displaced after a massive condo fire in East Ridge.
It happened just after 7:30 p.m. Friday night at the Belvoir Hills Estates off Bacon Trail.
When firefighters arrived they found a 100 pound propane tank venting fire, and eight town homes fully engulfed in flames. The remaining homes suffered smoke and water damage.
"I looked over towards the condos and could see flames," says Belvoir Hills Estates resident, Marilyn Hancock. "It was a lot of fire."
Officials say by the time firefighters arrived half the building was gone.
The fire was so big East Ridge firefighters asked for help, calling in trucks from North Georgia, Red Bank and Highway 58.
"Firefighter did see a 100 pound propane tank venting fire when they arrived," says police spokesman, Erik Hopkins.
Saturday morning residents like Hancock venture to the edge of the caution tape to see what's left.
"I just feel for her because she had a very lovely home," Hancock says. Hancock doesn't live in the building that burned, but her friend lives in unit 62.
The fire spread through eight condos before rescuers got it under control.
"It's a disaster for him," says Patricia Mayo. "He's really having a rough time we're going to do what we can to get him through it."
Mayo's brother's condo was destroyed. He lives in unit 61 now, but four years ago the condo belonged to Mayo.
"Everybody's proud of this place because it's always been so beautiful," Mayo says.
The cause of the fire hasn't been determined yet, but officials believe it started on a deck.
Hopkins says the good news is everyone got out alive. "It's remarkable that no one was injured," he says.
According to Hopkins a city ordinance prohibits apartment and condo residents from using propane tanks to grill on porches or decks. Hopkins says the propane tank owner could face criminal charges.