By GARY POPP
A family of six escaped a burning home unharmed before it was completely destroyed by a fire early Friday morning.
Area firefighters received the alarm call about 3:50 a.m. of the house fire in the 100 block of Cronewood Lane on the west side of Memphis. Firefighters from Sellersburg Volunteer Fire Department and Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Department responded to the home.
SVFD Chief Boyce Adams said the roof of the home had already begun to collapse under the blaze when firefighters arrived.
“The fire moved very quickly,” Adams said Friday afternoon, adding that that the home is a complete loss. “I am extremely surprised that we didn’t have any fatalities.”
The one-story home with a walk-out basement was reduced to only a burnt shell, Adams said.
“I haven’t seen a fire that burned a home this completely in five years,” Adams said. “The poor people lost everything that was in the house.”
Adams said the occupants in the home were a mother, father, grandmother and three children. American Red Cross has been working with the family to organize assistance.
Adams said one of the homeowners told fire officials the blaze was seen coming form the ceiling and down into the kitchen. Investigators remained on the scene eight hours after the initial call trying to determine the cause of the fire and its place of origin.
Adams said fire investigators determined the fire began in the attic space, burned for an unknown time and breached the kitchen ceiling. He said he wanted to stress that the home’s working smoke detector likely saved lives.
“This family is extremely lucky the smoke detectors did their job and got them out of the home,” Adams said. “Without the smoke detectors, it would have been a tragedy.”