Thursday, December 18, 2014 · 11:22 a.m.
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Red Cross is helping the approximately 24 people who were displaced by a fire at the Rustic Village Apartments early Monday morning.

Seventeen units of the 18-unit complex were affected.

The first calls came in at 3:32 a.m., and by the time Squad 13 arrived, smoke was already showing, officials said.

Because of the large number of occupants needing rescuing, 12 fire companies were called to the scene.

The main part of the fire involved the steps, which blocked the exit for most of the second-floor residents. Ground ladders were set up so that firefighters could access the balcony areas on the second floor, where most residents had retreated because of the smoke. 

The fire was contained to the stairwell and hallways of the apartment building, located at 510 Central Drive. However, most of the residents will be displaced while repairs are made. 

Hamilton County EMS treated at least one resident for breathing difficulties, but no major injuries were sustained, and no one was transported. The Chattanooga Police Department, CARTA and the Electric Power Board also provided assistance. 

In all, 18 families will be relocated. Fire investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire. 

The Red Cross is currently seeking additional volunteers in Southeast Tennessee. For information, call 423-265-3455. 

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