MEMPHIS, Tenn. — MFD investigators blame an electrical problem on a fire that left seven people homeless in East Memphis overnight.
The fire was sparked just before 1 a.m. Friday in a bedroom wall of a home on Elliston Road near Getwell.
MFD Fire Chief Lt. Wayne Cooke tells WREG seven people were inside at the time – five adults and two children – and that two adults were hurt after inhaling smoke.
One woman is in critical condition at the Regional Medical Center.
A neighbor tells WREG this is the second electrical fire to destroy a home on the street in the last month.
“Yea, it’s scary,” said J.D. Conner.
Everyone managed to make it out of the house safely before firefighters got there.
One of the men living there is being credited with saving lives.
“He helped some of the family out of the structure and had to go back in,” Lt. Cooke said.
Conner, who lives a couple of blocks away, was awakened by the sound of fire crews speeding past his house.
“I heard the sirens – the trucks going along – first. Then I went back to sleep, I didn’t know they were close, and smelled the smoke all the way down there,” he said.
Hours after the fire started, the smell of smoke still lingers in the air. The entire back wall of the house is gone, pieces of it are piled up in the backyard and even the trees are charred.
Conner said an electrical fire also destroyed the house next door to his about a month ago, so when he smelled the smoke Friday morning, he knew it was happening again.
“Smoke carries,” he said. “When that [house] burned over there, my smoke detectors went off.”
Lt. Cooke said the house destroyed overnight did not have working smoke detectors.
Damage to the house and belongings inside is estimated to be around $21,000, Lt. Cooke said.
Lt. Cooke said the man who inhaled smoke after going back in to rescue his loved ones is doing OK.
The Red Cross is now helping the family out until they can get back on their feet.