By Nathan Baker
Elizabethton Fire Chief Barry Carrier said the quick thinking and action of his men saved a historic city structure from complete ruin Thursday afternoon.
At 3 p.m., fire department personnel removing the wreath from the Covered Bridge smelled smoke in the air and followed it to a fire at a garage behind 203 S. Riverside Drive.
Carrier said the blaze appeared to have started on the second-floor deck of the building, which once served as the carriage house for the century-old house, but was converted to hold a garage on the lower level and an apartment above.
Before the firefighters arrived on scene from the station just a few blocks away, the flames quickly spread up a wall and into the apartment’s attic.
Grey smoke billowed from the eaves and peak of the metal roof and dissipated into the surrounding historic district as the firefighters scrambled with their hoses to the apartment’s entrance.
To reach the burning roof timbers, they peeled back a corner of the roof and cut a hole in one side with an ax before dousing the area with water.