MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two people are dead after a high-rise fire in Midtown.
The fire department says firefighters responded to the Bryton Tower Condominiums on Poplar Avenue near North Claybrook Street at around 2:38 p.m.
Fire officials say a 61-year-old woman was pronounced dead, and a 61-year-old man was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The fire department says he later died from his injuries.
The fire department says that the fire was knocked down at around 2:52 p.m. The fire was reportedly contained to a unit on the seventh floor, but the building suffered smoke and water damage.
Residents of the building say the victims of the fire are married and that the woman was bedridden.
“I hope the husband is doing well because he didn’t look well leaving on the stretcher earlier today,” said Carton Watson, a Bryton Tower resident. “He was covered in black soot. They were rolling him out and it was devastating to see.”
Watson says he was in his unit when the fire started. MFD’s report says smoke detectors were present but Watson said fire alarms never sounded. He says he heard the sirens and looked on his balcony and saw flames.
“I have elderly neighbors that live next to me. I went on to get the two neighbors that were over 70 years old, to help them out of the building because we didn’t hear them. They were not sounding,” Watson said.
Fire investigators ruled that the fire was an accidental electrical fire starting with the back patio door. Although contained to one unit, MFD says the building was still partially evacuated.
“We do have some residents that have breathing issues, that might have other medical issues and we kind of just want to get them out of and to safety,” said Qwanesha Ward with MFD.
This community now mourns the two lives lost to the flames.
“A lot of people are upset about it because when you lose somebody that you talked to and you just saw it kind of hurts a little bit,” said apartment manager Perry Baldwin.
Total damages are estimated at $100,000.