Fire investigators seeking cause of Bradley Co. apartment fire - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Fire investigators seeking cause of Bradley Co. apartment fire

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- Fire investigators were back out in the heat on Friday at the Smokey Mountain Apartment complex in Cleveland, after a fire ruined 16 units the night before.

They do know which apartment it started in, but not how it started.

At least a dozen families are left without a home.

"The glass exploded. Everyone was screaming. We were all trying to get everyone out," says Agustin Marquez.

Luckily Marquez and his family made it out, along with everyone else in the complex Thursday night.

While Marquez scrambled to gather his loved ones, Bradley County Fire Chief Dewey Woody was en route and preparing for the worst.

"Our initial call was that we had people trapped in this building. Civilians trapped that was our initial call," says Woody.

Fortunately that wasn't the case.

But for tenants like Marquez, without insurance many were left homeless.

Marquez says, "Gotta start from scratch. Only thing you can do I guess, start all over you know."

While Marquez was dealing with the reality of it all, fire crews were battling temperatures well over 100 degrees.

Chief Woody says, "You have to watch our people out here and limit their work cycles. Ten minutes, that's about it in this gear. Yesterday when we called for help, we called for a lot of man power."

Six crews from around the area battled the blaze in short intervals.

As for a cause, Woody says it started on the second floor in apartment number 10.

Woody says he couldn't rule anything out just yet, but he's onto something. But before he could confirm a cause he wanted to interview the tenants on site.

"There's indication it was an electrical problem caused by something the tenants were doing. I can't confirm that, but that's why I want them here to continue the investigation," says Woody. 

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