One person killed in early morning apartment fire

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - One person was killed early Thursday morning in a massive fire at the Lantern Square Apartments in Raleigh.

Officials said the fire broke out at the complex, located in the 3600 block of West Chantrey Drive, just after midnight.  When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke and fire could be seen rising from the complex.

The flames spread quickly, destroying over 20 units.  While many residents were able to escape, at least one person was not.

"Everybody was telling me that everybody had gotten out," witness Doris Gaither said. "What they didn't realize is that he couldn't have gotten out by himself."

Gaither was referring to Steve Weddel, a friend of hers, living at the apartment, that frantically called her for help.

"He said, 'Come quick, my apartment's on fire,'" Gaither said. "And I could hear the alarm that they have in the apartments. I could hear it going off."

Firefighters found Weddel's body as they battled the fire.  Witnesses also said one person jumped from a window to get away from the fire.

Fire investigators still trying to figure out what sparked the fire.  Two firefighters suffered from smoke inhalation, but are expected to be ok.

The Red Cross is providing aid to people who lost their home in the fire.

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