Thanksgiving morning apartment fire leaves Memphis family homeless

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis family is homeless this Thanksgiving after an early morning apartment fire.

With family close by her side, Ambra Whitley is still in shock after losing her home to an early morning fire. She says her neighbor beat on her door pleading with her to leave after he noticed the unit above hers caught fire.

“I was just shocked at the whole thing because i just couldn’t believe it was happening to me on Thanksgiving,” Whitley said.

Whitley, her husband, and her brother were all able to make it out unharmed, but all her belongings were destroyed.

“Everything messed up,” said family member Lekisha McCoy. “From the electronics to the clothing. Everything messed up.”

Hilltop Apartment management tells us it’s believed the fire may have started in the vacant unit above Whitley’s and that someone may have been living there.

“I thought it would be secure knowing that it’s vacant and that nobody would be staying in there, and I’m trying to see how did the lady get in there,” Whitley said.

Whitley says several of the units in the building are vacant. However, she says she’s seen people snooping around those particular units, which she and her family say is a major safety concern.

“If they’re paying you rent, why is somebody staying above her for free that’s caused her to lose everything? Ain’t nothing free out here,” McCoy said.

We took those same questions to Hilltop management.

“This is all new to me, ma’am,” management said over the phone. “I did not know someone was staying in there.”

Whitley and her family say they’re still trying to make sense of the situation. She says for the time being she’ll be staying with family members.

The Memphis Fire Department says a woman who was living in the apartment where the fire started sustained first degree burns to her arms. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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