UPDATE: Fire damage at Shooter's Depot exceeds $400,000 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Fire damage at Shooter's Depot exceeds $400,000

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The owners of Shooter's Depot on Shallowford Road are letting customers know what steps they're taking after a fire severely damaged the business.

It took dozens of firefighters to put out the flames and smoke Wednesday afternoon.

In less than two weeks, the family business would have celebrated its eighth year being open. Those plans are now on hold since a fire ravaged the building.

A look inside shows the devastation from the fire that started in the attic.

"Shock. Just absolute shock. I couldn't believe it," John Martin, the owner of the Fort Oglethorpe Shooter's Depot said.

Martin owns the second location of Shooter's Depot. The Shallowford Road location belongs to his father and sister.

Since it's family, Martin said he's doing everything to help.

"If she told me she needed me right that second, we would've left immediately because, you know, family," Martin said.

It's why he's opening his doors so that their members can use the shooting range.

The work doesn't stop there. Eric Latham is calling hundreds of customers to let them know what happened.

"We're a hometown company here. Chattanooga rebuilds and everybody supports us. We wouldn't be here without our customers and our members. We want to be there for them even though the store might not be here right now," Latham said.

Figuring out where special orders will be delivered and how people signed up for classes will take them is more complicated.

As he and the owners work on that, he's thankful for the two people who noticed smoke. That gave everyone the chance to evacuate without getting hurt.

"If we hadn't known that, it could've been a horrible disaster. We wouldn't have known what was going on. We wouldn't have known to get out," Latham said.

The owners said the shooting range is gone and the showroom took extensive water and smoke damage. Investigators said all of that adds up to more than $400,000 dollars in damage.

They did manage to save all of the guns.

Right now, it's still unclear what started the fire.


UPDATE: The damage from Wednesday's fire at Shooter's Depot is estimated to be nearly $400,000, with damages to the contents of the business being $30,000 according to Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner.

Garner says that the damage costs could have been much higher, but firefighters were able to protect the business's storefront that had firearms and ammunition.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

But during the firefighting, a truck driver drove his 18-wheeler around some fire apparatus and ran over a fire hose that supplied water to the firefighters.

A Chattanooga police officer followed the truck driver and charged him with reckless endangerment and crossing a fire hose. 

CFD Operations Chief Rick Boatwright said "These fire hoses are lifelines for our firefighters. If you bust a fire hose while driving over it, you've taken away the protection the firefighters must have while fighting a fire."


PREVIOUS STORY: Shooter's Depot sent an email to their customers explaining the next steps after a fire ravaged part of the popular gun store Wednesday.

The email reads:

"As you may or may not know, Shooter's Depot had a fire today. We are currently assessing the damage, and formulating a plan.

If you have a Special Order, an FFL Transfer, Gunsmithing request, consignment guns, a Suppressor, or any NFA item(s), we will be in touch with you over the next couple of days. None of the above-listed items that were in the store today were harmed, so rest easy. 

Tomorrow, Eric will be attempting to get in touch with the folks who were signed up for classes this weekend. We aren't sure how we'll be handling them yet, but we WILL take care of our students who have signed up for upcoming classes!

Members: You will have access to the range at the Ft Oglethorpe store, but please, please, please take your membership cards with you and be prepared to show them and to give the staff your name when you go shoot. The Shooters Depot is opening their home to us and you, so a big thanks goes out to them!

Our North Georgia Location - 5443 Battlefield Parkway | Ringgold, GA 30736 | (706) 406-0300"

It's not yet clear how long it may be before the business re-opens.

A photo posted on Shooter's Depot's Facebook shows some of the damage the business sustained in the fire.


PREVIOUS STORY: All lanes of Shallowford Road are back open around Shooter's Depot after closing for a fire. 

It took more than 50 firefighters and 13 fire companies to put out a fire at the Shooter's Depot Wednesday afternoon.

Officials have not said what caused the fire. However the business owner, John Martin, believes it was an electrical fire fueled by the thousands of pages of documents they keep in the attic.

One driver, Austin Thompson, recalled seeing the fire as he drove by.

“All of the sudden people were running out of the building," Thompson said. "They were pulling cars back and there was a bunch of black smoke.”

Fire officials said two people were in the shooting range when they noticed smoke and ran out to tell the owner. 

The owner said he grabbed the fire extinguisher, but the smoke was so bad he could not see. He had everyone evacuate the building and called 911.

“The fire was up in part of the attic space," Bruce Garner with the Chattanooga Fire Department said. "It traveled across the attic space, all the way across.”

Everyone got out of the building safely.

However, a lot of ammo is stored in the building, a concern for firefighters when battling the blaze.

“I don’t know much about guns, but I was just like gunpowder, bullets. I was worried of things firing off and things could explode,” said Thompson. 

It was a challenge for first responders. The ammo is stored in a different area of the building, so firefighters were able to contain the flames before they spread to that area. 

The business has been in Chattanooga for nearly eight years and employees 15 people.

The owner is not sure yet what they will do next. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga Fire Department officials say it took more than 50 firefighters to battle a blaze at Shooter's Depot Wednesday afternoon.

Department spokesman Bruce Garner says two people were shooting in the firing range and saw the fire. They told the co-owner, John Martin, who tried to extinguish the fire but couldn't because of the thick smoke.

Martin evacuated the building and called 911. 

Garner says firefighters found the fire in the attic, making it very difficult to get to. Firefighters were forced to evacuate the building themselves when a portion of the roof collapsed but continued attacking the fire from the outside.

Fire crews were able to keep the fire from getting to the office and showroom where ammunition is kept, but the shooting lanes and classroom were heavily damaged.

A total of 13 fire companies responded to the scene and got the fire under control more than an hour later.

No one was injured.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The fire response forced crews to close Shallowford Road in the area of Shooters Depot.

Shortly before 4:00 p.m., crews were in the process of opening the westbound lanes of Shallowford Road, but the eastbound lanes remain closed.

Stay with WRCB app for updates to this story.


PREVIOUS STORY: Shooter's Depot, a popular gun store and firearms training center in Chattanooga, caught fire Wednesday.

Firefighters are responding to the blaze, which is complicated by the ammunition on hand at the store.

The area around the store, Shallowford Road and SR-153, has been closed to traffic. Drivers should seek alternate routes.

Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner tweeted "Firefighters are working hard, trying to get to the fire in the attic space here at the Shooter's Depot on Shallowford Rd. No injuries reported so far." 

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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