Two confirmed dead: Ammo explodes in burning apartment as police respond to robbery

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two victims are confirmed dead after a Parkway Village apartment complex caught on fire Thursday, causing ammunition inside the unit to explode, fire officials said.

The incident started around noon at the Clearbrook Village Apartments in the 3500 block of Tall Oaks Circle.

Regina and Brandon Allen (Facebook)

A family member at the scene identified the victims as Brandon Allen, 34 and his wife Regina Allen. They had been married three years, had two boys and had just celebrated Regina's birthday, Brandon Allen's father, DJ Hewlett said.

"He had two boys. He was taking care and doing good for himself, but he wasn't perfect," Hewlett said.

Hewlett tells WREG, he got a hunch that Thursday's deadly fire was no accident.

He thinks someone may have killed his son and set the fire to cover it up.

Police have not released the cause of death or identity of either victim.

 

Viewer photo

But before the chaos, Memphis Police say there was a crime.

Initially they received a robbery call to the complex. When they arrived, they found an armed male suspect, who was detained.

While the officers were there, they noticed an apartment on fire.

MPD said the robbery call was unrelated to the fire.

Hewlett has a message for his son's friends following Allen's death. "To all of his friends, stay strong and don't do anything stupid. I know you want revenge, but just let the authorities do their job."

Neighbor Regina Brown was home and says she saw police already on scene before she saw the flames.

"I just heard 'Get on the ground, freeze!' so I ran back downstairs. I thought they were talking to my brother, but it obviously was the suspect. After that, that's when the fire started," Brown said.

Witness Carol West says she saw a guy running, "and there was about seven police running behind him. After I saw him running, I looked up and saw the apartment was on fire. People were running in and out of the apartment."

Like witnesses, the family is left with questions.

"When you have someone who is hurting you have anger, because you don't know what has happened to your loved one," the father said.

The family yearns for answers that will only come as an investigation digs deeper into the story behind the flames.

What we're working to find out is how the fire started, and how did two people die?

Witnesses said they heard gunshots coming from inside, but that was apparently ammunition going off.

The Fire Department said there are about 16 units in the affected building.

Now, Brown says she is holding her 1-year-old tighter while longtime residents are left uneasy and hoping for answers.

"It happened so fast," she said. "I think it's terrible."