Officials investigating after vacant apartment building goes up in flames

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An enormous fire near the downtown area overnight left a vacant apartment building with severe damage.

Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to other buildings on Exchange Avenue, but at one point part of the building collapsed. Approximately 12 to 16 units were affected by the fire.

The flames were so intense that firefighters never went inside.

No firefighter or civilians were hurt.

Lieutenant Wayne Cooke said fires like this in vacant buildings can be especially dangerous, because it's not known how structurally stable they are.

"We take all the precautions as well before entering vacant structures. We ensure they will be safety for our firefighters."

Investigators said they are still trying to figure out how this fire started.

One witness told WREG they saw someone set the fire and run from the scene. So far fire investigators have not confirmed that.

"If they did set it on fire, I mean what is your purpose of setting it on fire? Even though it's a vacant building that's a whole lot of damage someone has to clean," a neighbor said.

Investigators are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.