Long night for Jaycee Tower residents - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Long night for Jaycee Tower residents

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Tuesday night was a long one for about 80 Jaycee Tower residents who are temporarily housed at the South Chattanooga Rec Center, when they can go home is still a mystery.

"Oh, its been exhausting," says Debbie McKinney.

Channel 3 first met McKinney outside Jaycee Towers less than an hour after an electrical fire forced officials to evacuate the entire 18-story building. Nearly 24 hours later, she's still wearing the same clothes, much like everyone else at the rec center.

"I haven't gotten any sleep at all. I finally got my night time medicines after 11 o'clock last night. At the same time I found out they went up and grabbed my cats and took them to McKamey so I feel better," she says.

Despite the hardships volunteers with the American Red Cross and Salvation Army are trying to keep everyone comfortable.

"They're not happy with the situation that's going on but they are happy, they're humble and they're moving on with their daily lives," American Red Cross spokesman, Greg Waite says.

However, with every passing hour the need to be back at home grows. "Waiting on them to say the word, I could go up there and stay in my apartment right now without power," resident John Hutchens says.

Investigators are trying to figure out exactly what caused the fire and why emergency lights in one of the stairwells never came on.

"There were no emergency lights. I had to help people down the stairwell with just the light on my telephone. That's the only light we had," says Charles Hall.

As the investigation continues all residents can do is wait. "I know I'm gonna make it, ya know, its just tiring right now," says McKinney.

Officials say repairs from the electrical fire could take up to 72 hours to complete.

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