MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fire investigators determined arson is the cause of two house fires in the 1200 block of Cannon and Dow in South Memphis.
Two houses, one block away from each other, were engulfed in tall flames and a cloud of thick black smoke that consumed an entire South Memphis neighborhood.
Both homes on Dow and Dunnavant Street were vacant, so it could’ve been much worse.
“Anybody could’ve been in there when somebody set those houses on fire,” said Michael Branch. “It’s also dangerous for the person next door.”
Branch who lives on Dunnavant tells WREG he called 911 after his son made an eerie threat just moments before the two houses were intentionally set on fire.
“He was talking bout setting my house on fire,” said Branch.
Branch says his 20-year-old son stole his wallet and used his ATM card.
“He guessed that pin number from my First Tennessee card and he took that money and I put him out,” said Branch.
But that’s when the argument took a turn for the worse.
“I was out here when he took that saw horse and shoved it up in my window,” said Branch.
While Branch was on the phone with police, they told him to wait in the house until they got there. He says at that point his son took off running.
Firefighters say arson is the cause because both houses were vacant.
“Vacant structures can be extremely dangerous because of the deterioration of those structures. They can dangerous not only to our firefighters but also to our residents, children and civilians, and we recommend you don’t enter them,” said Wayne Cook with Memphis Fire.
One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion, there were no other injuries.
As of right now, there are no suspects in custody, but of course we’ll continue to keep you updated as the investigation continues.