Early morning fire kills one and inures two others - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Early morning fire kills one and inures two others

Investigators are searching for what started a deadly fire this morning, but they do know why it spread so fast.

When firefighters arrived just after 4 a.m. this morning, the building was engulfed in flames making the situation too dangerous to attempt to rescue one person who was trapped inside.

Pounding on the door got Chris Miller out of bed.

"This morning I heard a knock and police said fire, fire!" said Miller.

Miller got his wife---and then got out.

"Looked like you're in hell, for real, it looked like you were in hell," he said. "You first walk out your home and you see your house on fire looks like you're right in hell."

While Miller escaped the flames, a neighbor in an upstairs apartment did not and was pronounced dead at the scene. Two others were transported to the hospital.

By Friday afternoon, the eight apartments destroyed by the flames were boarded up.

When fire crews arrived early this morning, they say flames were shooting out the windows and the roof, and once the fire hit the attic the flames spread quickly.

Fire crews said it spread quickly because there was no fire wall in the building.

"In this case, the attic was an open attic which means once it got up in that attic it was able to travel the length of the building," said a fire official. 

While there were no firewall separating the units, the apartment contractor says each unit is equipped with a smoke detector. Whether that smoke detector was working is part of the investigation.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, but believe it started in the upstair unit on the end.

The fire caused at least $250,000 in damages.

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