Woman wants to save South Memphis home where family died in house fire

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis woman is fighting the city to save a home where 10 people lost their lives in a fire.

She says her grandmother struggled to build that home and losing it will take away a part of her family.

"A late night phone call was the beginning of Elisa Weathersby's nightmare.

When she arrived in the 1100 block of Severson Street nearly two years ago she wasn't ready for what she was about to witness.

Seven small children and three adults were all trapped in a blazing house fire.

"The firemen were crying because they couldn't save the kids," Weathersby said. "There was a lot of walking back and forth for a while. When they came in and got the bodies, they laid all of them out in the yard."

16-year-old Angel, 9-year-old Ernerst, 8-year-old Diamond and 7-year-old Alonzo all died in the home.

5-year-old Kerra and 2-year-old Precious Rose died on their way to the hospital. 9-year-old Cameron spent four days in the hospital, but his injuries were too severe and he also passed away.

The children's grandmother, Eloise Futrell, and two family friends, Carol Collier and Lakisha Ward, also couldn't make their way out of the flames.

"This is the living room. This is where the fire broke out," Weathersby said.

Charred black walls and the strong smell of smoke still lingers in the house.

A fire investigator's report says the house did not have a working smoke detector and there was evidence that a smoke detector was removed.

The family had iron burglar bars on all of the windows, making it difficult for anyone to escape and even more difficult for firefighters to get in to save them.

Memories and charred structure is all that's left of a house that her grandmother struggled to build over 45 years ago, and if the city of Memphis has it's way then it will soon demolish her family's home.

WREG reached out to the city to see if anything could be done.

We were told, "This issue is a legal matter and at this time we have no further comment."

Weathersby just wants the house that holds so many memories, both good and bad, to remain standing.

"This house can be fixed. It's just going to take a whole lot of money."

It's a lot of money that she doesn't have.