Huge apartment fire sends smoke over city

(WMC-TV) - A massive plume of smoke hung over parts of Memphis Monday night as firefighters battled flames at an apartment complex in the Medical District.

In video captured by Chopper 5, flames and a large pillar of white smoke could be seen pouring from the apartment building at Jefferson and Somerville.

"The whole building was just engulfed in flames," said Kelly Thomas, a witness to the fire. "I didn't hear any explosions or anything like that, but I looked over and this is what I saw."

The fire was called into authorities at 6:27, and brought under control about 30 minutes later.

Fire Department spokesperson Lt. Wayne Cooke said firefighters knew the apartment was vacant.

"Because of the heavy fire to the structure, most of our firefighting operations were to the exterior," Cooke said. "We set up two trucks and fought this defensively."

That left neighbors to speculate about what sparked the blaze. For years, according to Devlin London, neighbors have seen homeless people and others seeking shelter going in and out of the building. Now, neighbors wish people would have listened to their concerns.

"The police have been notified, as have code enforcement," Devlin said. "It was in the making."

No immediate injuries were reported.

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