UPDATE: Four engines arrived to put out flames in a shed at the Chatt City Suites on East 20th St. Monday. 

Employees with the motel told firefighters they were using a heater to kill bed bugs in motel furniture, when the fire sparked. 

“When we got there it was a small shed fire. But our guys got in there to extinguish the fire,” said Randy Jacks, Executive Deputy, Chattanooga Fire Department. 

Executive Deputy Randy Jacks with the Chattanooga Fire Department says it's rare for firefighters to come in contact with bedbugs while putting out flames.

But just in case, there are measures in place.

“If our guys are exposed to something like that, the first thing they will do, the gear they are wearing, they are going to take it off. We are going to isolate that gear, put it in plastic bags, and tie it up to keep from contaminating our trucks. This keeps it from carrying the bed bugs back to our station,” said Jacks. 

Firefighters are issued temporary gear, while their gear is sent off for cleaning.

“What we do is we isolate the gear, and we will send it off to a professional company to take care of it. And it could be several weeks. But we keep reserved gear for things such as that,” said Jacks.

Jacks says the department does this to protect firefighters. 

“They are our most valuable asset, because without them we are in trouble. So we are going to do our very best to make sure our firefighters are cared for properly,” said Jacks. 

The Hamilton County Health Department inspects hotels every six months. Chatt City Suites was inspected last month after a complaint of bed bugs. Inspectors found bed bugs in one of the rooms. When they went back for a follow up the hotel was clear. Inspectors will return in April. We reached out to hotel management and have not heard back from them.

If you have a complaint about a pool, restaurant, health care facility, day care or even the place where you work call the Hamilton County Health Department hot line at 423-209-8110. 

PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga firefighters responded to a shed fire this afternoon at the Chatt City Suites at 101 E. 20th Street. The shed was located next to the motel, and the flames were threatening to spread to the motel.

Firefighters had to cut through a chain-link fence to get to the shed. The fire was quickly extinguished. No one was injured and the motel was not damaged.

Employees with the motel told firefighters that they were using a heater in the shed in an attempt to kill bedbugs in motel furniture. Captain David Thompson Jr. said the turnout gear (the coat and pants they wear inside to protect them from the fire) for four firefighters will have to be treated for possible infestation of bedbugs.