Chattanooga residents evacuated, several floors damaged in Patten Towers fire

Colin M. Stewart, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.
·2 min read

Mar. 27—This story was updated at 4:06 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2021, with more information.

Several residents were evacuated and one was injured as they attempted to escape a seventh-floor fire at Patten Towers in downtown Chattanooga on Saturday morning.

The call went out at 10:36 a.m. Nearly every company working for the Chattanooga Fire Department on Saturday responded to the scene or staged, ready to offer manpower, according to a news release.

"Off-duty members of the department came in, including the command staff, to assist, and many of our Mutual Aid partners filled in at our fire halls," the release states.

"It was a tremendous amount of work getting tools and resources upstairs and firefighters also helped with evacuations. A number of residents are non-ambulatory and needed to be carried out of the building."

The fire was extinguished at 11:44 a.m.

Floors 7, 8 and 9 of the building were "severely impacted" by the fire, the department said on social media, and those residents were transported from the scene by CARTA. Residents of floors 1 through 6 were asked to shelter in place as groups like the Red Cross worked to find temporary housing for them.

One resident was transported to the hospital with smoke inhalation, and three firefighters were treated on the scene for minor burns.

All 106 residents of the building had to be evacuated due to the extent of the fire, smoke and water damage, the release says.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Erected in 1908 at the corner of Market and East 11th streets, the Hotel Patten was Chattanooga's first skyscraper and hosted three presidents before and after they were elected — President William Howard Taft in 1911, Warren G. Harding in 1920 and John F. Kennedy in 1953.

The hotel was later converted to an apartment complex, and currently, the 196,500-square-foot structure houses low- to moderate-income residents.