Morning fire claims elderly couple's lives - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Morning fire claims elderly couple's lives

A community is mourning an elderly couple killed in an early morning fire. It broke out this morning on Locke Road in Shelby County.

Melted metal, charred rubble and burnt bricks marred Christmas Eve for this one community.

"We're not immune from anything and it could happen, it could have happened to us," said neighbor Betty Johnson. "It could have been our family."

As family members consoled each other, Betty Johnson and her husband described it as a community loss. They say the morning blaze quickly ripped through the two-story home.

"Building was two stories and it was still standing. Came back an hour and a half later it was down to the ground," said Betty's husband Jitter.

The Shelby County Fire Department is checking to see if the home had a smoke detector. They say the couple just couldn't get out of the house in time.

"This structure was well involved and through the roof when the 911 call was made," said Brent Perkins of the fire department.

They say it's possible the elderly man fell asleep with a lit cigarette.

"That's another possibility. We understand that that may be a cause and we're looking into that as well," said Perkins.

"Everybody will be here to help them," said Johnson. "Whatever they need, there'll be friends and neighbors that'll all be here to help them."

The couple says they'll count their blessings and spend their evening in prayer for the family left behind.

While investigators don't know if the home had smoke detectors, they urge you to use your time at home this Christmas to check your own. They say smoke detectors are your first line of defense.

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