Outlet sparks Westhaven house fire

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Firefighters battled flames at a house fire in Westhaven.

Emergency crews rushed to Berta Road near Hodge Road and East Shelby Drive just after 4:30 a.m. Memphis Fire Department spokesperson Wayne Cooke said a spark from the outlet on the first floor started the fire, which then spread to the second floor and to the attic.

"I just can't say how big the flames were, they were big enough for me to come outside and see what was going on," one neighbor said.

Cooke said firefighters initially believed a faulty hot water heater caused the fire, but later revised that statement. Fire officials said a faulty electric socket is to blame for the house fire.

Flames engulfed about half of the home. The homeowner was not inside the home at the time of the fire but was on the scene.

"It started on that first floor, advanced to the second floor and to the attic area," Memphis Fire Department Lt. Wayne Cook said.

The homeowner, Lorenzo Bates, had just finished renovations when the fire happened. He said he's angry that he lost that much money.

"I'm pissed off. I'm pissed off. I just threw $100,000 down the drain. How would you feel?" Bates said.

The Memphis Fire Department estimates approximately $61,000 in damage was done to the home. Bates said he didn't have any insurance on the home and is now trying to figure out what happened.

"I'm trying to see how a fire would start in a house they just passed inspection on with no type of power on in the house," Bates said.

No one was injured in the fire.

"I'm very thankful for that (no one home), it's just hard thinking about having to start over, but thankful nobody was in there," Bates said.

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