Man pushes for fire extinguishers in MPD units after friend’s death

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Loved ones of a woman killed in a fiery crash last weekend are saying their final goodbyes.

LaTashia Taylor is being laid to rest Saturday after dying in a burning car on I-240 June 10.

She couldn't be saved, but her friends are fighting for change in hopes that someone else can be.

Pink balloons, flowers, candles and stuffed animals mark the spot where Taylor was killed.

"She was just a great person," said friend Nikkarlos Neal.

Police say the 32-year-old entrepreneur and model, from Senatobia, Miss., became trapped in a burning car after it crashed into a fence and tree near an apartment complex on I-240 and Lamar.

Witnesses pulled her boyfriend and his 2-year-old son from the car, but the intense flames kept them from getting to her.

By the time fire crews got there, it was too late.

"I just broke down because she was a dear friend of mine," Neal said. "I'm still in disbelief. It was a tragic event."

After the crash, James Hampton – one of Taylor's closest friends – bought a fire extinguisher for each of his cars and started an online petition asking the city to step up and make a change.

"I feel if they had fire extinguishers, it would have been a totally different outcome," he said.

Hampton is aiming for 5,000 signatures on that petition.

His hope is it will encourage MPD to put fire extinguishers in as many units as possible.

"I'm not asking for every police car – every other car," he said. "We just need to have them on the streets."

He's also asking people to donate one fire extinguisher, which he will hand out to officers.

"20 dollars to help save a life," he said.

And he hopes other cities will hear his message and implement the same policy.

"I just want it to be a shining light on the world," Hampton said. "Let's save lives, not just only here in Memphis."

More than 3,300 people have already signed Hampton's petition.

You can donate a fire extinguisher at Blendmaster's Barbershop on South 3rd Street during normal business hours Tuesdays through Saturdays.