The blaze broke out around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Happy Valley Apart-ments, located on Indian Avenue in south Rossville. No injuries were re-ported.
Fire personnel were able bring the fire under control by around 3:30 a.m., said Rossville Fire Chief Bill Eaves.
The nine-building apartment complex is owned and operated by a Rhode Island company. The actual cost of damage hasn’t been announced.
After the fire was called in to 911, approximately 40 firefighters re-sponded from Rossville, Fort Oglethorpe, and East Ridge. Two stations from Walker County Emergency Services also responded.
“The state is looking at the wiring in the attic” as the cause of the fire, Eaves said. “They don’t seem to think it’s arson at this point.”
Though officials responded quickly, the fire had apparently been burn-ing for some time already. Flames were already reaching through the roof when they arrived.
The situation worsened when a damaged gas meter allowed natural gas to feed the fire. Firefighters struggled against the burst gas line for almost two hours until the gas company could disable the flow, Eaves said.
“There were no fire stops in the attic,” Eaves said. “That was a common attic all the way through all the units. “The (fire) code now calls for the fire-walls to extend all the way up to the roof.”
Since the unit was built before the code was enacted, the fire stops were not required, Eaves said.
The owners, who are in Rhode Island, said they would probably just take the building down to the slab and rebuild, he said.
“After being built back this particular unit will be up to code,” he said