Piano store owner reacts to devastating fire

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — An early morning fire devastated two businesses on Lee Highway. Chattanooga firefighters needed over an hour to tame the blaze at General Appliance Warehouse this morning. Now business owners try to figure out the next step after sustaining huge losses.

At 12:16 Tuesday morning, twelve Chattanooga fire trucks responded to the two-alarm fire. When they got on scene, crews found flames bursting through the roof, and couldn’t immediately start hosing down the fire.

“Electrical service lines broke away from the building, fell to the ground and started jumping around and sparking and arcing,” Chattanooga Fire spokesperson, Bruce Garner.

Firefighters then had to wait until EPB arrived to deactivate those wires.

The fire completely destroyed General Appliance Warehouse, the top business in the building. All four walls were blown out. Even the metal frames of the building bent from the heat.

“We had firefighters with handheld hose lines and we also had several aerials spraying water from on top trying to get the fire under control,” Garner said.

But thanks in part to a concrete floor, Summitt Pianos and Organs, which sits underneath the appliance store, received minimal fire damage. Unfortunately, water flooded many pianos, and smoke ruined others.

Owner Ted Summitt wasn’t even aware of the fire until his mother texted him after seeing the morning news.

“It’s sad. You know we’ve been here a long time,” said Ted Summitt, the owner of Summitt Pianos and Organs.

No one was hurt in the fire, but Summitt says he’s most worried about his workers moving forward.

“My biggest concern is for my employees,” Summitt said. “You know their livelihood depends on us selling pianos and staying in business here, so it was a sad morning to see this.”

They were able to salvage the store’s computer and all important documents. Summitt says they plan on moving into a new building as soon as possible.

“We’ll move what we can out, find a new location and try to start doing business as usual,” Summitt said.

Firefighters were able to stop the flames from spreading to nearby buildings. And officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News