Homeless man says candle caused house fire

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "The candle was only this big!"

Clairence Spencer is having trouble grasping what happened. He said he and his buddy are homeless and found shelter at an abandoned home on Dublin.

They had boarded up. We were supposed to be leaving anyways. I was trying to leave. I`ve been in and out of the house four or five times."

Spencer said a candle caught a bed on fire early Friday morning. The flames spread fast.

"I told him get some water. Your bed on fire. I was like hurry up and get some water before it burned up. Io didn`t know it was going to be like that."

He tried to get water from a neighbor, but it was too late.

Fire crews said several people called 911, but by the time they got there, the blaze engulfed the house.

The flames shot into the air, snapping a power line, and striking a firefighter in his neck and back.

"One of the other firefighters that saw it happen was able to remove it with a piece of equipment."

He was rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The fire also ruptured a gas line, forcing crews to put up crime scene tape, keeping neighbors back while MLGW cut the lines.

Finally several hours later, the fire was out.