Eight families lost their homes Saturday night when fire raced through Partridge Meadows –– with tragedy averted by the quick work of men who charged toward the flames.
“There was a lady holding a baby at the window,” said Curtis Davenport, one of the men who helped get people out of the apartments. “She didn’t want to at first, but she finally let the baby go and he (Michael Newby) caught it.”
“Then I told her to jump, that I’d catch her,” Newby said, noting the mother, after tossing her baby down to him, jumped from the second-story window into Newby’s arms.
Two more people were pulled from the second-story window. They became trapped because the door to their apartment was blocked by fire. Anthony Dishman and Dusty Burger were able to secure a ladder to help the remaining people down from the second floor.
“I tried to break out the window with my hand by hitting it,” Newby said, displaying a busted right hand from his attempt to rescue people from an apartment on the opposite side of the burning building.
The blaze began Saturday around 6 p.m. in the upstairs portion of an eight-apartment building located Oriole Drive near Cascade Avenue. The block that was destroyed housed apartments 17-24.
The fire was contained to one building, although a nearby building did sustain cosmetic damage from the heat.
“We were standing in a breezeway when we started to smell smoke,” Davenport said. “By the time we went to see what was going on, the whole place was going up.”
The fire remains under investigation. If anyone has information about the fire being criminal in nature, they are encouraged to call the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Arson, which offers up to a $3,000 reward. The number is 1-800-762-3017.