MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A fire tore through an apartment complex Monday night in Whitehaven, leaving 10 units inside the PepperTree apartments are either badly damaged or a destroyed.
Memphis Fire Department investigators said Tuesday the fire was intentionally set in apartment No. 7. The fire is still under investigation.
At least 11 families are receiving aid from the Red Cross.
Fire crews spent more than 12 hours battling the flames. Hot spots proved to be extremely problematic as firefighters battled to control the flames.
MFD said the fire caused about $250,000 to two buildings and another $250,000 damage to contents. One resident injured her leg jumping out of a second-floor window.
Climmessa Armstrong said her mother took an extreme measure to escape.
“My mom is 56 years old, she had to dive out of her bedroom window,” Armstrong said. That jump resulted in a broken ankle.
We’ve learned more than a few spirits were also broken as a result of the fire.
“You wake up out of your sleep and there’s nothing you can do, but just take off and run,” Jeanette Nuckles said. That is exactly what Nuckles did, as the fire broke out inside her neighbor’s unit.
Fast and ferocious is how many living inside the PepperTree apartments describe an overnight fire that forced many out of their homes.
At sunrise, we saw Memphis Fire having to utilize ladder trucks in order to unleash a tremendous amount of water. The effort to douse this fire once and for all, stretched on for many, many hours.
Unfortunately, not having a place to call home is something Nuckles thought she had overcome. She went from living in a shelter, to getting her own place here three years ago.
In one night, things have changed forever.
“Back homeless all over again,” Nuckles said. Sadly, she’s not alone as 11 families are in the same situation.
Incredibly, those left with little to nothing said they have a lot to be thankful for, including the fire crews willing to go back inside to save whatever they could.
“They went to get my change jar, so I’m blessed. And now you helped me out with some snacks, so I can’t complain … I’m blessed,” Nuckles told us.
Fire investigators said the cause of the blaze is still under review. Although, those living inside PepperTree are telling us the flames were intentionally set.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 528-CASH (2274) or
the State Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. You could be eligible to receive a cash reward from Crime Stoppers of Memphis and Shelby County, Inc.