Teens Seen Running Before Two Alarm Fire Destroys Building

(Memphis) Fire investigators are trying to figure out what caused a massive building fire Saturday afternoon in South Memphis.

Four firefighters were briefly trapped after an explosion sent a wall and roof collapsing on top of them.

All four are expected to be OK according to the Memphis Fire Department.

The fire happened at 2:45 p.m. at the location of the former American Drum and Pallet Company on Walnut Street.

A man who lives right across the street from abandoned the building told us he saw three boys running from the building right as it went up in flames.

“I was standing over there and I heard a big boom and I seen them taking them out on a stretcher,” said Donald Mitchell, who lives across the street.

“The firefighters?” asked Reporter Sabrina Hall.

“Uh huh,” said Mitchell.

“We have fire crews on the scene to respond and they were able to rescue those firefighters in record time,” said  Lt. Wayne Cooke, spokesperson for the Memphis Fire Department.

Lt. Cooke said none of the firefighters were burned and all are going to be OK.

The smoke drew people to South Memphis from all over.

“It’s pretty horrifying,” said Michael Pahls, who stopped to check out the flames.

“I just hope nobody is hurt,” said Taylor Manning, who checked out the flames peeking through a fence on Ioka.

Mitchell and his brothers watched as the fire burn dangerously close to their home that sits directly across from the building.

“It’s scary,” said Mitchell. “Very scary.”

Mitchell said his father was in the backyard when the fire started and claims to have seen three boys running from the building.

“Three kids run out of the back,” said Mitchell.

“We do have fire investigators on the scene to determine the cause and origin of the fire,” said Lt. Cooke.

Lt. Cooke says a total of 94 firefighters and rescue workers responded to this fire.

He told us it is because they had so many crews there that those firefighters were able to be pulled to safely so quickly.