Monday morning fire destroys 20 units in Memphis town home complex - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Monday morning fire destroys 20 units in Memphis town home complex

The fire started just before 5:00 a.m. Monday. The fire started just before 5:00 a.m. Monday.
Video from Chopper 5 showed the extent of the blaze. Video from Chopper 5 showed the extent of the blaze.

A fire early Monday morning left numerous Memphis families without a home.

The two-alarm fire before 5:00 a.m. at the Somerset Park Apartment Homes, located off Winchester Road in Memphis.

As firefighters arrived at the scene, smoke and flames were shooting from the roof of one of the complex's buildings. In all, 20 units in the complex were destroyed.

Corie McKinney, who was fast asleep when the fire broke out, said she got out just in time.

"Fire just went everywhere," she said. "It just, like, exploded. It went everywhere."

McKinney said neighbors woke her up and got her out just in time. Her apartment was torched.

Resident Rene Story lost her home as well. Story insisted the flames came from new neighbors using a fireplace.

"They were breaking up all kind of wood, taking parts of the fence, and burning anything they could burn," she said. "About 4:30, a bright light blazed past the window while we were sleeping."

Memphis Fire Department Chief Larry Harris said that unit was where the fire started, but the blaze was ruled accidental.

"If someone here was trying to keep warm, or trying to light a fireplace, something of that nature could have possibly caused this fire," Harris said.

It was the first fire of 2008 at a complex that is no stranger to tragedy. A fire in October 2007 took the life of a 4-year-old boy. That fire was later ruled an arson, and a suspect was taken into custody.

Meanwhile Monday, fire investigators said they didn't know of any code violations at the Somerset Park Apartment Homes. Investigators urged all people living there to obtain a working smoke detector for their home.


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