Massive fire breaks out at construction site at downtown apartment building

Dozens of firefighters battled a massive fire Friday, May 3, 2019 at Forum Flats apartments in...
Dozens of firefighters battled a massive fire Friday, May 3, 2019 at Forum Flats apartments in downtown Memphis. (Source: WMC)
Updated: May. 3, 2019 at 8:10 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A three-alarm fire broke out in Downtown Memphis Friday morning.

Fire crews got to the scene at around 5:45 a.m. in the area of South Danny Thomas Boulevard and East Pontotoc Avenue.

No one was reported inside in the building when it went up in flames.

The building is an apartment complex named Forum Flats that was under construction at the time. The apartments were scheduled to open in Fall 2019.

Sweat said MFD has a drone with thermal vision that is flying above the fire to assess which areas need to be stamped out. The drone is something they’ve been training with for about a year but used it for the first time Friday.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys, they did a heck of a job,” Sweat said.

Lieutenant Wayne Cooke said several parts of the building have collapsed as firefighters continue to spray the fire with large amounts of water.

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)(WMC Action News 5)

By mid-morning and afternoon, firefighters continued dousing the structure with water to prevent flare ups.

The Forum Flats were set to open in August, according to their website.

The developer is Elmington Capital Group, out of Nashville.

Local construction company Patton and Taylor Enterprises from Germantown was putting the apartments up.

Representatives from Patton Taylor were on site all morning and declined to speak on camera.

However, they said they don't think the fire was electrical since MLGW was set to energize the building that burned next week.

"I just look up and see this big ash cloud of smoke everywhere and then ashes were just falling everywhere," said Deandre Hambrick, cabinet installer.

Deandre Hambrick was part of a crew installing cabinets, who drove in from Nashville Friday morning.

Their day took an unexpected turn upon arrival.

"When you're putting all your hard work into it... and then to see it on fire," said Hambrick.

The site is also near the South City, former Foote Homes complex, the city and Memphis Housing Authority are rebuilding.

It’s not the same, though developers had agreed to accept more than 40 housing vouchers as part of the revitalization of the area.

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