Fire Destroys 20 Tenn. Apartments

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --

Several families were forced out of their homes early Tuesday morning, when a two-alarm blaze ravaged their apartment building.

The fire broke out just after 1 a.m. in an upstairs unit at the Brandywine Apartments off Edmondson Pike.

Flames were shooting out of the roof when crews arrived on the scene.

Fire alarms woke up dozens of residents who went door-to-door making sure their neighbors got out safely.

"We walked outside and noticed the fire was really blazing so we instantly ran to inform our friends. We started knocking on doors telling everyone to get out," said apartment resident Matt Aldridge.

"This is very scary," Chandra Mimms exclaimed as crews fought the blaze. "It makes me really sad because it could have been me who lost everything."

Officials said up to 20 units suffered severe damage and five were a total loss.

Crews said all the residents were able to get out safely, but some of them had to be rescued.

"When the first companies got on the scene the flames were coming through the roof and initial companies on the backside found residents on their balconies," said District Chief Buddy Byers on the scene. "We had to ladder the building to help those residents get out."

No injuries were reported, but officials feared several pets may have been trapped inside.

The Red Cross is assisting seven families with replacing lost food, clothing and bedding and six families with shelter. Although more families were affected by the fire, many were not home at the time and have not yet requested Red Cross assistance.

The Red Cross said most of the families affected by the fire had renter's insurance.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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