Families recover after fire destroys apartment in Antioch

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – About two dozen families are working to pick up the pieces after their homes were destroyed in a fire in a building apart.

Nashville firefighters said it took three alarms to extinguish the flames at the Allegro on Bell complex on Saturday morning. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The cleanup effort began Monday with fencing erected around the burned building. Officials said up to 20 units could be considered a total loss due to damage.

“I saw people jumping from the second floor just to try to save themselves,” Deren Uzmezler said. “I’ve heard of people throwing their animals out of windows, throwing their snakes, their dogs, just trying to free them.”

Uzmezler said it was a horrifying scene as the flames started on one side of the building and spread to the roof. Her husband, Mustafa Karakasli, was awakened by the red glow of the fire and knocked on his neighbors’ doors to make sure everyone knew what was going on and could get out safely.

The newlyweds had just moved into their first home together in July and said they were traumatized by the fire which cost them everything. Their part of the building collapsed as they stood outside on the hill. He trapped their wedding rings and other priceless family heirlooms in the ashes.

“Lots of memories and lots of stories,” Karakasli said. “We brought people in, and we had great dinners and great conversations. It’s so sad, as if everything suddenly vanished. Then when you get up the next day, which is Sunday, you realize that you don’t have a home.

Uzmezler and several of his neighbors said they didn’t hear a fire alarm go off until firefighters arrived at the scene.

“I am a light sleeper. I wake up easily,” Uzmezler said. “But other people might not have woken up so easily and could have been seriously injured or even killed because of it.”

The apartment management company said all smoke alarms were working when last annual fire inspected in February and had not received any reports of fire alarm issues since then.

“Birge & Held team members visited vacant apartments, after getting the all-clear from firefighters, to test smoke detectors,” management company spokeswoman Stephanie Tresso said. . “All detectors that have been tested in vacant units have worked properly.

“Once it is declared safe to do so, our team will inspect the detectors (if possible) in the apartments affected by the fire and work with the fire department to determine what may have happened in order to make changes. “

Tresso said Allegro on Bell staff are working with residents to place them in temporary apartments elsewhere in the complex or in another complex down the street.