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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Bellevue apartment complex went up in flames in what officials deemed a two-alarm fire Monday evening.
Firefighters were called to the Creekwood Apartments on Highway 70 South at 6:35 p.m. When crews arrived, heavy smoke and massive flames were visible.
According to the Nashville Fire Department’s fire marshal, the fire was caused by an electrical wiring failure that ignited combustible materials in a chase between apartments.
A chase is a groove or space in walls or through floors of a building for piping or ducts. The fire travelled into the chase, then into the floor space between the first and second floor, then into the attic compartment, the fire department explained.
One building of the complex, which contains around 60 apartment units, was affected. At least 24 of those units were damaged by the fire, but that number could change as officials work to survey the extent of the damage.
Luckily, no one was injured. It’s not yet known exactly how many people were affected, but at least 60-80 people have been displaced, many of whom watched as they lost everything they own.
“When the builders constructed the building in 1971, it met the codes of that time. When the building is rebuilt, it will have to meet current code requirements,” spokesman Joseph Pleasant noted in a press release.
Councilwoman Sheri Weiner, who represents this area of Bellevue, was on the scene the second she heard the news.
“It’s awful. It’s awful … The wind is whipping it so badly that it’s making it harder. I’m overwhelmed at the response of this with the fire department. There must be 50 fire trucks out here. It’s crazy,” she told News 2.
The American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist. Fire spokesman Joseph Pleasant said two shelters were opening up to help the victims—one at Bellevue Church of Christ and one at Bellevue Middle School.
Mayor Megan Barry also came out in a show of support, calling the fire a tragedy and saying she was proud of first responders who worked for hours to ensure the fire didn’t spread to another building and no one was hurt.
She added, “Our council member Sheri Weiner is right here on the scene. These are her people, they’re her neighbors, and she’s just been a huge rock on this community.”
Councilwoman Weiner said a GoFundMe page was started to help those who lost their homes. Click here to view the GoFundMe.
Fire officials also said they were able to save at least one pet, a cat. It’s not known if other animals became trapped inside.
Caseworkers with the American Red Cross will meet with impacted families Tuesday to coordinate housing options.
If you’re interested in helping the following information will direct you:
- The American Red Cross is set-up at the Bellevue Church of Christ located at 7401 Highway 70 S. Their phone number is 615-250-4300. They have staff and case workers there to assist victims with lodging, financial, food, lost medication and personal needs along with counseling.
- A second location is set-up for donation drop-offs and it is at The Tailgate Brewery located at 7300 Charlotte Pike. Their phone number is 615-861-9842. They are accepting any donations that can assist those impacted by this incident (clothing, non-perishable food items, home furnishings, gift cards or money).
The Alley Pub is also offering free meals to fire victims, as well as collecting donations. The owner of the pub was a firefighter for more than 30 years and his brother in-law was among those that worked late into the night to stop the blaze. The bar has already collected several bags of donations, from clothing to pet supplies.
“Alley Pub has been here for about 11 years and both of our bosses are actually retired firefighters so it’s really important to them to reach out to the community. We’ve done numerous fundraisers like this before when the flood happened and other fire victims before and so it’s just always important for us to be a part of the community,” manager Cassie Hornback told News 2.
The cafe 37 Degrees Sth is also offering up free food to both victims and firefighters who responded to the scene.