MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A massive fire at a South Memphis apartment complex sparked an investigation after causing $5 million in damages.
Memphis firefighters are still monitoring the Forum Flats near FedExForum on Danny Thomas Boulevard – extinguishing spot fires – more than 12 hours after the fire broke out Friday morning.
FOX13 learned the Forum Flats is a 202-unit apartment community located two blocks away from the FedEx Forum are currently under construction.
According to a release from fire officials, the building suffered “major structural damage” estimated at $5 million.
Officials said the origin of the fire was determined to be the first-floor area, and the cause is still under investigation.
No one was injured as a result of the fire.
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The building is set to open in the fall. Now some people are wondering what will happen to those who were supposed to move in.
Neighbors watched portions of this brand new apartment complex go up in flames for hours Friday morning.
"Fire just a big burst of flames, fire, it was huge, it was everywhere, it was flying, debris, smoke it was scary," said Nikaya Walls, who lives in the area.
The fire took hours to control and firefighters worked tirelessly to make sure it did not spread to other buildings.
At one point, FOX13 crews could see embers landing on the rooftop of a nearby building.
Debris landed in Walls' yard, about 80 yards from where the fire actually started.
Fortunately, the fire never took and the nearby buildings were saved.
The city of Memphis released a statement in regards to the fire:
"It is unfortunate that this incident has impacted Elmington Capital, however, Forum Flats is not a City of Memphis project and is not a part of the South City Choice Neighborhoods grant. The development is located in the South City community and Memphis Housing Authority has committed 47 vouchers to the project."
"I'm sure a lot of them are saddened behind it and I hope it doesn't set them back too much," Walls said.
A city spokesperson said the units being developed contribute to the replacement units the city will deliver. Their team will work with the Housing and Urban Development to identify other units.
Walls said she is afraid this will hurt the people who were set to move here.
"I think they are pretty upset," she said.
Cameron Taylor, the owner of Patton and Taylor Enterprises, said he believes the fire is suspicious because of the time it happened and where.
“Because there’s no power on any of the buildings yet and MLGW was scheduled to hook up power next week,” said Taylor. “There’s no work going on at 5:30 in the morning that would cause a fire.”
Taylor also said the residents will still move into the units in August that were not impacted by the fire.
“We’re hopeful that at least a portion of the building can be saved which we think it can,” he said.
Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development told FOX13 as long as the project remains the same, Taylor won’t have to file for new permits to rebuild.
Taylor said this kind of project is important for neighborhood, and they’ll rebuild as quickly as possible.
“There’s plenty of affordable housing in Memphis but there isn’t a lot of quality affordable housing in Memphis so projects like this are critical to improving the quality of life,” said Taylor.
He’s still working to learn what will happen to the other residents.
Taylor is working with an insurance adjuster to access the property.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 528-CASH.
The developer who owns the land for the Forum Flats Development issued the following statement:
"Forum Flats, an under construction, unoccupied development in Downtown Memphis, caught fire early Friday morning. We are extremely thankful this development is unoccupied and no one was injured. We plan on rebuilding the lost units in the near future. We are thankful for the first responders who were on the scene quickly. The cause of the fire is still unknown."
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