Whitehaven house collapses in early morning fire

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A retired Shelby County Schools music teacher was able to escape an early morning house fire, but lost everything.

Memphis Fire Department was called to a home on Durant Street in Whitehaven around 2 a.m. Friday.

"I woke up to go to the restroom and to go into the kitchen," Phillip Cheatam said. "But before I could get in the kitchen, smoke was all over my house, and I could not see."

Cheatham said he broke out the window in order to escape.

"I just took one of my vases and I broke out the front window and pushed the window out with my hand," Cheatham said.

The blaze caused the home to collapse as fire crews took nearly an hour to get everything under control.

Cheatham was treated on the scene for cuts to his hand from the broken glass but he's OK. However, he is concerned about one thing - what happened to his dog.

The dog is still missing.

"Everyone knows I'm crazy about my baby. I call her daddy's baby, Snow," Cheatham said.

He said although his home was destroyed, he feels blessed to be alive.

"I named my home Phil's place but I had God's place," he said.

Cheatham attends Mt. Olive Cathedral in downtown Memphis where he's been the director of music for 30 years.

He said this loss will not stop his worship.

"Hopefully Sunday morning I'll be able to play again with that one finger," he said.

It's unclear what caused the fire.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.