City councilman may get request in Severson Street fire

By: Greg Coy

Updated:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Friday night, a partial victory for a city councilman who claimed a smart meter caused the deadly fire on Severson Street in September 2016.

FOX13 has learned Memphis City Councilman Joe Brown may get his request for an independent investigation to find out if his allegations are true.  

RELATED: Memphis councilman blames MLGW for deadly Severson Avenue

The home on Severson is boarded up after 10 people died in a fire 14 months ago. 

Neighbors still mourn and some debate what caused the tragedy. They wonder if it was a faulty electrical cord to the air conditioner, as the fire marshal ruled, or a smart meter MLGW installed on the home and removed after the fire.  

Michael Owens is a neighbor and friend of the Jett family.  Owens told FOX13, "I think I did hear people say it was a smart meter." When asked if anyone had proof, Owens said "No."

RELATED: Severson Avenue fire victims receive lasting tributes

Councilman Brown, at Tuesday's Memphis City Council MLGW committee meeting claimed the MLGW meter was at fault.  "That meter caused that fire in that home," said Councilman Brown as fellow councilmembers looked surprised and stunned.   

After repeatedly denials from MLGW CEO Jerry Collins, Brown turned to committee Chairwoman Patrice Robinson and said, "My thing is chair I'd like an investigation into that fire."

Councilwoman Patrice Robinson told FOX13, "Those are some very serious allegations," but has asked City Council Attorney Allen Wade to investigate, if another investigation in Severson is warranted. "We need to clear that we have reported is correct and make sure the data is correct," said Councilwoman Robinson.

RELATED: FOX13 Investigates: 10 lives lost in Severson Ave house

The data Council Brown used to make his claim before the council committee meeting comes from the EMF Safety Network, a website that is critical of smart meters.

Brown has not provided FOX13 a copy of the documents as promised.

We found the EMF website downloaded pages from the site. We even contacted the site administrator who said over the phone, EMF never linked a smart meter to the Severson fire.

FOX13 called Council Brown every day since Wednesday and he has not returned my calls.

Councilwoman Robinson said she hopes the probe will put to rest questions about Severson.  
"We just want to put the facts on the table and we don’t want to do any harm to any of our citizens," said Robinson.

MLGW CEO Collins told FOX13 every fire is investigated by the fire department and they determine the cause of the fire. 

Collins said no fire in Memphis has been caused by smart meters.

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