NASHVILLE, Tenn. – More than a dozen families are without a home after a massive fire broke out at a south Nashville apartment complex.
The blaze started at 1 a.m. Tuesday at the Brandywine Apartments off Edmondson Pike.
The unit above Matthew Chapman's caught fire first.
“I was sitting in the room watching TV and getting ready to go to bed at about 1 a.m. and I hear crackling,” he recalled. “I hear the people upstairs running back and forth and I look out the patio window and saw their deck in flames. I just grabbed our fire extinguisher and ran up there and it didn't do any good, it was too late, it was engulfed in flames.”
Charles Shannon, spokesperson for the Nashville Fire Department, said 20 units in all were affected, with five units completely destroyed.
The rest suffered smoke and water damage.
Firefighters told News 2 they had multiple calls from residents who needed to be rescued.
“When we first companies got on the scene, it was coming through the roof,” Buddy Byers with the Nashville Fire Department told News 2. “The initial companies on the back side found residents on the balconies. They had to help the residents get out off the balconies on the backside.”
Chapman told News 2 he was able to retrieve his laptop, a cell phone charger and family photos, including ultrasound pictures of his unborn child.
“It's just the ultrasound pictures and the photos of [my son], that's the stuff that makes you really upset,” he said.
No one was injured.
The cause of the fire, which appears to be accidental, remains under investigation.
The Nashville Area Red Cross is currently assisting seven displaced families with food, clothing and bedding and six families with shelter.
The organization said luckily, most of the families affected had renter's insurance.
Since July 1, the Nashville Area Red Cross has responded to more than 150 fires, assisting more than 550 victims.
If you'd like to help the victims or to donate, visit NashvilleRedCross.org.