• Neighbor kicks down door, tries to help elderly man in burning house

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    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A neighbor braved the smoke to kick down the door of his elderly neighbor whose house was on fire Monday morning.

    Abraham Clay, 67, was found in his bathroom unresponsive after fire crews arrived at his Alameda Ave. home in North Memphis.

    Crews were dispatched about 10:02 a.m. when heavy smoke was reported. Firefighters saw heavy flames coming from the one-story wood structure, officials said.

    A neighbor to Clay spoke with us about the moment he noticed the house was on fire and called 9-1-1. 

    “I didn’t really think I tried to get over there as fast as I could,” said Joshua Maxwell, the neighbor.

    He ran towards the burning home, worried about his neighbor and kicked down the door. But it was too late. 

    “I would want someone to check up on me or run to try to help me if it was a fire of that magnitude,” Maxwell said. 

    Maxwell just met Clay a few days ago off Alameda Avenue.

    He said he did everything he could to help Clay. 

    “I kicked in the front door and I got low and crawled as far as I could before the flames got too high for me to stand,” Maxwell said. 


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    The fire was under control by 10:49 a.m.

    Fire officials do not know if the victim had working smoke detectors due to the amount of damage. The estimated damage is about $30,000. The cause of the fire was determined to be a faulty extension cord in the bedroom, according to officials. 

    Clay was transported to Regional One Hospital in critical condition with second and third-degree burns. He was later pronounced dead. 

    The cause of death is pending the Shelby County's Medical Examiner's report. 

    Tuesday, the fire department spent the afternoon handing out free smoke detectors and checking old ones.

    Firefighters said it’s important to check your smoke detectors once a month and if you don’t have one you can call the fire department and get one for free. 

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