Several firemen and two residents were treated for heat-related symptoms suffered while fighting a fire at Smokey Mountain Apartments on U.S. Highway 64 Thursday evening.
Eight apartments were affected by fire or water damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation and an exact cause is unknown, according to Bradley County Fire Rescue Chief Dewey Woody.
“High heat was a factor with the firemen,” Woody said.
According to Stan Clark of EMS, 10 firemen were treated at the scene with oxygen and IV fluids for heat-related issues. One fireman was transported to SkyRidge Medical Center for possible smoke inhalation. Clark said it was not life threatening.
Two residents were also treated at the scene “for minor issues,” according to an EMS release.
Clark said the 100-degree plus temperatures combined with the heat from the fire contributed to the firemen’s need for treatment.
Woody said about 10 families have been displaced. The Hiwassee and Chattanooga chapters of the Red Cross are working to assist the families.
Hiwassee Chapter executive director Julia Wright said a few teams from the chapter responded to the fire to help the families, and provide hydration to emergency workers.
The Red Cross has found temporary shelter for the displaced families and will be providing assistance with, food, clothing and medications for the next few days.
Bradley County Fire Rescue and Bradley County EMS responded to the scene at 6:10 p.m. Fire departments from the city of Cleveland and from Polk, McMinn and Catoosa (Ga.) counties also assisted.
“Typically on a normal day we would not have requested so much help,” Woody said.
Woody said the heat complicated the firefighting operation.
“We had a lot of things working against us,” Woody said.
In addition to the heat, another challenge during the fire was the nearest fire hydrant was two miles away. Woody said water was trucked into the scene. Apartment fires are difficult to keep in one area because the structures are small and connected, according to Woody.
Bradley County EMS left around 10 p.m. Bradley County Fire Rescue left at 1:30 a.m.