Memphis man faces charges after nephews injured in fire

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis man faces charges after his two young nephews were injured Monday morning in an apartment fire.

The children, ages two and five, were alone in the apartment around 2 a.m. Monday when the electricity failed because a power line was knocked down.  Lt. Wayne Cook of the Memphis Fire Department said the boys lit a candle and caught curtains on fire.

"Candles can be very unsafe and can be dangerous, especially when left unattended," Cooke said.

In the area on another call, a Memphis police officer noticed the flames and evacuated the building.  Moments later, the boys' uncle, Christopher Niter ran up and unlocked the apartment door, but firefighters had to rescue the children.

Later in the day, Niter was locked up at 201 Poplar, charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse.  A spokeswoman at the Regional Medical Center said one of the boys suffered from smoke inhalation, while the other received a small burn on a shoulder.

"Children can get into anything within a matter of seconds, so we recommend children never be left alone," Cook said.

Family members told Action News 5 the children are expected to fully recover.

"We just thank the lord it wasn't worse than it was and the kids are okay," said another uncle, Tony Love.

Niter will appear in court later this week.

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