MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Members of a Whitehaven family made it out alive when their home went up in flames over the weekend. Now, they suspect a controversial smart meter may have sparked the blaze.
"Nine people got out of the house," said relative Sherry Mackey. "My cousin, her six kids, my aunt and my uncle," she added. "It's just by the grace of God," she said.
The house first caught fire before a van in the carport exploded. The fire department determined the cause was electrical in nature, and the family wonders if an electrical meter played a role.
"They put a smart meter on the house," said Mackey.
Smart meters are a more efficient way of tracking energy usage and are part of a $240 million MLGW modernization proposal. The devices
have sparked controversy, and some believe they can even start fires. MLGW was adamant there was no smart meter at the house that caught fire.
"That's a lie," said Mackey. "My uncle works on the house all of the time and he and other family members saw the smart meter on
the house," she added.
An MLGW spokesman said technicians seen in the area after the fire were there to secure services and make sure other customers were
not affected. The family claims workers removed the meter from charred debris.
"I would hope that Memphis Light, Gas, and Water would take responsibility for it," said Mackey.
MLGW currently uses three types of meters and believes the family may have confused a digital meter for a smart meter. Again, MLGW said there is no record of a smart meter being used at the house.