Firefighters & Good Samaritans help save downtown businesses - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Firefighters & Good Samaritans help save downtown businesses

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Several downtown businesses were spared thanks to the quick work by Chattanooga firefighters and several Good Samaritans. It happened on East Main Street around 9:45 Thursday night.

The Clearstory building is home to six business that are now being treated by restoration crews mainly for smoke and water damage. Mountain City Construction appears to have been hit the hardest. Business owners are thankful no one was hurt and that fire crews, even passer-by's pitched in to save their property.

Local artist Brent Sanders says 'thank you' just isn't enough.

"It almost brings me to tears it really does that people jumped in like that," Brent Sanders said.

Sanders rushed to his only four-month old studio after getting a call that the building was on fire. None of the six businesses had people inside at the time. A pedestrian just happen to see flames, and flagged down a passing car to call 911.

"The fire can double in intensity so if you have one room burning when he saw it, in another minute you may have two rooms burning. So in 15 minutes the whole thing could've been totally engulfed, all the businesses a total loss, people out of jobs," Chattanooga Fire Department Deputy Chief of Operations Chris Adams said.

Six fire companies attacked the blaze, knocking it out within around 15 minutes. Then shifted to damage control.

"We treat everybody's possessions as something that's very invaluable, you can't replace it," Adams said.

Most of the businesses, including Brent's studio, suffered smoke and water damage, again, some worse than others. Firefighters tried their best to cover them with tarps and carry out dozens of Brent's paintings.

Other business owners from the building and along East Main jumped in to rescue his artwork one by one. Even strangers pitched in.

"They were helping carry out easels and artwork. It was just a real touching situation, getting a little choked up again talking about it. It was just a real nice situation," Brent said.

He says it makes him even more proud to be a part of this community.

"To me it's what Chattanooga really represents," he said.

They also saved artwork from Chattanooga Presents.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It started on second floor. All the businesses are located on the first floor. Fire officials say their commercial fire training worked exactly how it's supposed to.
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