Disabled woman narrowly escapes explosion in Midtown

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A disabled woman who nearly lost her life in a fire said she was able to get out of her car and garage on Roberta Drive just before it went up in flames.

This comes at a time when the Memphis Fire Department is going other places to recruit.

The fire happened on the corner of Roberta Drive and Avery Avenue.

She said what happened Thursday is the reason she wants Memphis firefighters to get more pay.

“I give God the glory that it was not my day to go because there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have died today,” said Carole Mestemacher.

Mestemacher isn’t taking life for granted after nearly losing her life when her car went up in flames.

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She noticed something wasn’t right when she tried to start it Thursday afternoon.

“I cut it off and restarted it and then there was a pop and smoke. Then there was flames,” she said.

That’s when she grabbed her walker out of the passenger’s side and barely got out.

“I mean just in enough time for me to get outside the side garage door, it went up, it just exploded,” she stated.

This happened during a time when MFD is still working to recruit.

The department was invited to Texas A&M Emergency Services Training Institute March 23, where they’ll train candidates at a career expo and bring in recruiters.

Mestemacher said firefighters responded within minutes. That’s why she hopes the department will do more to keep firefighters in the city.

“That’s why they take their training here and go elsewhere because they can get more money,” she said.

A spokesperson with the department said the pay is what drives qualified candidates. They can start off with $34,000 and it goes up from there.

Mestemacher said she knows the importance of qualified candidates.

“It was a miracle I’m alive,” she stated.

A spokesperson with the department said both firefighters and paramedics work with departments, which is something you don’t see in every city.

He said that’s another reason people want to come to Memphis.