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Early Morning Fire Damages American Job Center in Athens

Thursday, March 09, 2017 | 1:53pm

State Bringing in Mobile Job Center to Continue Providing Services in McMinn County

ATHENS - An early morning electrical fire damaged the American Job Center at 410 Congress Parkway North in Athens, McMinn County. Due to fire, smoke and water damage, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) has temporarily closed the facility.

A passerby noticed smoke coming from the building and called the fire department. Quick action kept the fire from spreading and causing more damage.

The mobile American Job Center from Chattanooga was sent to Athens Thursday morning to provide uninterrupted job services in McMinn County. This unit will operate in the damaged facility's parking lot through next week between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

"We currently do not know how long the job center in Athens will be closed but we need to continue providing services in McMinn County, so the decision was made to bring in the mobile job center," said TDLWD Commissioner Burns Phillips.  

  • The women's rest room at the American Job Center in Athens was heavily damaged by an early morning fire.
  • A mobile American Job Center from Chattanooga operating in the parking lot of the American Job Center in Athens.
  • Left: The women's restroom at the American Job Center in Athens was heavily damaged by an early morning fire.
  • Right: A mobile American Job Center from Chattanooga operating in the parking lot of the American Job Center in Athens.

While the building suffered extensive damage, no one was injured and none of the equipment inside the job center was destroyed.

TDLWD Workforce Services staff called on local organizations for long-term assistance, while fire damage to the job center is cleared and the restoration process takes place. The facility could remain closed up to four months.

"The community rallied together and quickly came up with a plan to continue these much-needed jobs services in the McMinn County area," Commissioner Phillips said.  "We are appreciative of everyone's willingness to help in the hours, days and weeks after this fire."

As of Monday, March 13 all larger planned functions, such as hiring events and classes, will be housed at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Athens and Cleveland State Community College.

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