UPDATE: Apartment fire ruled accidental, caused by cigarette butt
UPDATE: The Chattanooga Fire Department has ruled this morning's fire to be accidental, starting on the second floor of Building 14, in Apartment 1422.
Lt. McElvain said an improperly discarded cigarette butt on the woman's balcony was the likely cause of the fire. The woman said she discarded her cigarette butts in flower pots.
Roughly 75 people are estimated to be displaced and 12 apartment units destroyed after an early morning fire at the Carriage Parc Apartments in East Brainerd.
Firefighters battled flames at a Chattanooga apartment complex Friday morning, with 15 engines on the scene.
The two-alarm call came in at 3:22 a.m. at the Carriage Parc Apartments off Gunbarrel Road.
Fifty-four units in the complex have been impacted from the fire. The Red Cross is assisting the occupants of 24 units. Officials say as many as 75 people may be displaced.
Yaser Algahtani, his wife and three young children escaped the burning building unharmed. He said his next door neighbor woke his family.
"Then we hear people knocking on the door, telling us to leave, we leave and we find fire trucks already starting to fight the fire," Algahtani said.
The fire spread into the three-story building's attic, which allowed it to move between apartment units. Currently, only one building in the apartment complex has been affected.
Fire crews had to work in single degree temperatures, creating extra hazard.
"When the water freezes and you spray the water, it gets on the ground and freezes over. It's a problem for them," said CFD Spokesman Bruce Garner. "They've been doing a lot of slipping and sliding."
"This was a huge fire that was threatening to consume the entire building," said Chief Blake, "but our firefighters used everything they had to attack the fire and get it under control before it could do even more damage."
Police also closed Joiner Road at Gunbarrel Road blocked off to allow firefighters to safely work.
The Southeast Tennessee Red Cross has opened an Emergency Shelter for residents of the apartment complex at the East Brainerd Church of Christ at 7745 E. Brainerd Road.
Bruce Garner said no serious injuries were reported aside from a few firefighters slipping and falling on the icy pavement.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.