UPDATE: A quick thinking off-duty fire fighter helped keep an early morning fire from spreading.

It happened at Chattanooga Woodworking Academy on Market Street around 6:30 Friday morning.

Located in the heart of Chattanooga's south side, Chattanooga Woodworking Academy Director Bill Carney and his students are used to hearing the sirens of first responders along Market Street.

"I get tired of hearing them go up and down the street sometimes, but I've got a new way of looking at that now," Carney said.

Because Friday morning, those sirens responded to the place where Carney teaches his tricks of the trade.

"It started in a can of sawdust. We don't know really what caused that, if there was an oily rag that fell into it or something," he added.

The fire was small, leaving some damage, mostly in the shop.

The biggest loss, Carney said, the trade school's custom made front door and a piece recently finished by one of this students.

"It was a tall cabinet with a door and drawers. Beautiful walnut and maple. Just gorgeous. Got burned completely up," he said.

Carney admitted, it could have been much worse, if it weren't for the quick thinking of a Chattanooga fire fighter riding his bike in the area.

"The whole neighborhood smelled like smoke, so I knew there was something burning," Chattanooga Fire Department Captain Jonathan Lehman said, "If I would have come over here, that's just wasting time. So I went to the fire house and told the guys and we came over."

Classes were already out for the summer, giving Carney time to repair the damage from the fire.

He said this will be another lesson he hopes to pass down to his students.

"I've always been keenly aware of the fact that we're in an environment that is prone to fire. So we try to be careful about that but it's an accident," Carney said.

Carney hopes insurance will help cover the cost of the damages.


An off-duty Chattanooga Fore Department captain jumped into action early Friday morning as he saw smoke coming from the Chattanooga Woodworking Academy on Market Street.

CFD Captain Lehman says he sped up to get to Station 1 a few blocks away on E. Main Street and alerted his fellow firefighters at the station, as well as 911 Communications, according to CFD spokesman Bruce Garner.

The building was empty when four fire companies arrived. Firefighters had to force their way into the building get to the fire.

The fire was extinguished in less than 10 minutes and contained to the shop area.

No injuries were reported. An estimate on the dollar loss was not available. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

PREVIOUS STORY: The Chattanooga Fire Department was called to a commercial fire early Friday morning.

The call came in just before 6:30 of a fire at 1604 Market Street, the Chattanooga Woodworking Academy.

An off-duty firefighter was cycling past the building when he smelled smoke and called in the fire.

No injuries were reported.

We are working to learn more details about this fire and will update this story as it becomes available.