SCSO: Two families out of homes after kids play with matches

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- Two families are out of their homes after Sheriff’s deputies say young kids were playing with matches in the backyard and it started a major fire.

Nearly 30 firefighters responded to the fire on Bitter Creek Drive in Northaven, including county crews and some from Millington.

Crews said the house where the fire started and the one next to it are now destroyed.

Holding back tears, Sharona Hill showed WREG what used to be her home.

“I mean it’s unbelievable," she said. "It happened so quick and so unexpectedly.”

She said she woke up to her uncle pounding on her front door, saying there was a fire.

Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies said two kids were playing with matches behind Hill’s neighbor’s house on Bitter Creek Drive. They say when their older brother came to check on them, somehow the flames spread, taking over both houses.

Firefighters said they got the call just after 11 a.m. and within 20 minutes of arriving on the scene, they got both fires under control.

Neighbors were evacuated and everyone made it out safely, but unfortunately, both homes are a complete loss.

“I don’t have nothing," said Hill. "My children right now have on their sleeping clothes and no shoes.”

Hill, a single mother of six, said everything she owned was in that house.

Now she feels hopeless as her kids as young as two-weeks old have nowhere to go.

“They’re going to need help," said a neighbor. "They’re going to need some support.”

Deputies said the kids who were playing with the matches were left home-alone.

They were taken downtown for questioning, and have been charged with arson.

A scary reminder for all parents.

“This is what can happen," said SCSO spokesperson Earle Farrell. "It’s unsupervised children, they’re out of school and you got to keep your eyes on these kids.”

Shelby County Fire Crews said this is a reminder it’s illegal to burn without a permit in unincorporated parts of the county. It’s also always illegal to burn in neighborhoods like this one.