East Memphis house burns until passing firefighters notice smoke

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An East Memphis bungalow burned unnoticed until a passing fire crew noticed the smoke.

They managed to extinguish the blaze at a home on the 1200 block of Mt. Moriah just after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“It appeared to have started in the storage room in the carport, possibly electrical,” said Lt. Wayne Cooke.

Hailey Reagan, who rents the home, said both she and her roommate weren’t home at the time. Most of her possessions aren’t salvageable.

“The one thing that I was able to get was a thing of my baby pictures, which is actually right next to where the fire started,” Reagan said.

As firefighters douse the house in water and picked through the carport looking for hotspots, neighbors watched as the plume of smoke intensified.

“A whole huge cloud of smoke overtook the house and it was the thickest smoke I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Summer Thetford, who lives next door.

Thetford and her family say they were asked to evacuate their home by firefighters who feared the fire could spread.

“I just ran through that wall of smoke like I’ve never ran in my life,” said Adrianne Thetford.

“I was just, like, ‘Run, just get out, just come on, just let’s go,'” she said.

As the smoke clears, Reagan is taking stock of all that was lost, but most importantly, all that was saved.

“I was very, very stressed out about it at first and I still am, but I am very thankful that I’m safe, my roommate’s safe,” she said.

“I’m really lucky that they stopped it when they did,” she added.

Cooke said the home wasn’t equipped with a working smoke detector. Reagan said she thought it was, but that she’ll be double-checking in the future.

Memphis Fire sent out a statement saying the following:

“22 pieces of Fire/Rescue/EMS equipment and approximately 62 emergency response personnel ultimately responded to the call. Division Chief P. Posey was the commanding officer of this incident. The fire was brought under control at 4:26 p.m. There were no firefighter or civilian injuries.”

“The residence did not have a working smoke alarm. The home and a vehicle
sustained smoke, fire and water damage. Total damage is estimated at $2,000.00
vehicle, $45,000.00 structure and $20,000.00 contents. The origin and cause of the
fire was determined to be electrical; the fuse panel in the carport storage room
malfunctioned. The adjacent home (1244 Mt. Moriah) sustained $2,000.00 exterior
damage. Red Cross assistance was not requested.”

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