2 dead after fire in Midtown high-rise

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 3:09 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 10:16 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two people are dead after a fire at Bryton Tower in Midtown, located at 1271 Poplar Avenue.

One 61-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene. A 61-year-old man was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition but did not survive, according to the Memphis Fire Department.

“I’m kind of walking around with nervous energy,” said resident Damon Meek. “Because I don’t know what state my apartments in. After the fire.”

Damon Meek has lived in Bryton Tower for about six years.

He says he didn’t find out about the fire until he arrived home.

His next-door neighbor and another person were killed in the blaze.

“I know that there was someone there that was disabled I think but I never saw this person,” said Meek. “Mostly I just heard they lived there, the guy that lives there. I saw him from time to time.”

Fire officials say the fire started on the inside of a patio door on the seventh floor. The fire was ruled as an accidental electrical fire.

The call came in at 2:38 p.m. Friday. The fire was extinguished by 2:52 p.m.

Firefighters used a ladder to reach the seventh floor.

“Our firefighters train for this a lot so we are prepared for this,” said Memphis Fire Public Information Officer Lieutenant Qwanesha Ward. “It wasn’t a thing that we train for and have been prepared for.”

Fire officials say a smoke detector was inside the unit that caught fire. It’s unclear at this time whether or not it was working.

The fire caused an estimated $75,000 in damage to the building and an estimated $25,000 in damage to its contents.

Red Cross will not be assisting residents, fire officials say.

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