MLGW shut off electricity to apartment where deadly fire broke out, utility says

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 8:29 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Prior to dozens of firefighters arriving at the scene in South Memphis where four young children were tragically killed in an apartment fire, there was one man there before EMS tried to help the father save his children.

Another South Memphis property manager, who was coming to talk to the family about an available vacancy, saw the flames and tried to help the father save his children.

“I was looking for something that I could use that I could go in [and] get those kids,” said Kenneth Wright, Owner of Wright’s Property in South Memphis.

While driving on East Alston Avenue near E.H. Crump Boulevard, Wright said he saw flames shooting from an apartment at the corner and pulled over to jump into action to help.

“I came towards the smoke, made it on the street noticed the father of the kids was standing out, and he was asking me for help to get his babies out the house,” said Wright.

Despite Wright’s efforts to extinguish the fire, the flames were too high.

“I noticed that the kids [were quiet], I didn’t hear the babies crying neither was there no working, smoke detectors, or anything of that nature,” said Wright.

Investigators with the Memphis Fire Department determined a ‘rigged wire’ sparked an electrical fire between the kitchen and one of the bedrooms.

MLGW said at least three apartments did not have electricity due to non-payment, including unit one where the fire began.

Because of the tragedy, Memphis Firefighters canvassed surrounding apartments Thursday conducting a ‘blitz’ to check for working smoke detectors.

“As a property manager, seeing this right here, it should wake up a whole lot of property managers out to do a welfare check. Also, smoke detectors check every 30 days,” said Wright.

Memphis police said the father of the children is still detained no word on any possible charges.

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