(Memphis) A careless cigarette smoker is to blame for a fire that engulfed his North Memphis house and left him homeless.
The chimney still stands, but the rest of the house on Barrett was no match for the ferocious flames that devoured it early Wednesday morning.
“My neighbor called me and told me to look outside to see what was going on next door,” said Grace Thompson.
Thompson was sleeping when that phone call alerted her to the fire just steps from her home.
“I said for real?! I couldn’t believe it, so I got up. I couldn’t believe this was going on this morning,” said Thompson.
“Why? What did you see?” asked WREG’s Elise Preston.
“Oh the house was full of smoke, there was fire everywhere,” said Thompson.
The good news is Thompson’s neighbor of more than 20 years escaped the bright orange flames and billowing gray smoke.
Memphis Firefighters say the fire started because he was carelessly smoking in his living room.
Sparks from the cigarette lit the couch on fire, fueling the flames.
“Whatever God has happen, it’s meant to be,” said Thompson.
She’s thankful her neighbor is safe.
Fire Investigators say, even though the fire was started by negligence, it is considered an accident.
The man who started it will not face any charges.