Firefighters investigate rash of fires at recently vacated apartment complex - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Firefighters investigate rash of fires at recently vacated apartment complex

An apartment fire sent firefighters into battle Monday afternoon for the sixth time in just over a month at the exact same vacant complex.

Firefighters worked on Christmas Eve to put out yet another fire at the Riverwood Apartment Complex.  Two burnt units brought the total number of those recently destroyed to 12.

Memphis Fire Department Division Chief Ron Mitchell said the fires aren't starting themselves in the abandoned units.
"For a fire to occur, it has to have heat, oxygen, and a source," he said. "With a vacant apartment (with) no utilities (there's) not much of a source."

A nearby resident said he thought he knew the motive behind the fires.

"Retaliation, hatred, bad feelings about being put out with no where to go," Allen Taylor said.
Taylor's dad lived at the complex for five years, until last month.  Then, Taylor said, "The owner passed away and left it to his son, and his son didn't want to deal with it, and decided to close it up."

Taylor said he hopes something is done about the complex soon, because in the meantime, the abandoned apartments are attracting crime.

Meanwhile, fire investigators continue to work to figure out who's setting all the fires, before someone gets hurt.

"It's very frustrating, because we never know until we get here exactly what we have," Mitchell said.

If you have information that could aid investigators, call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

Click here to send an email to Lori Brown.
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