Five Residents Hurt In Fire at Memphis High-Rise For Retirees

Memphis (AP) -- Fire officials in Memphis say a three-alarm fire at a high-rise apartment building for the elderly and disabled injured five residents this morning.

Deputy Fire Chief Donald Kuhn says the fire was contained to one apartment in a residential tower at Wesley Highland Terrace in Mid-Town.

Those injured suffered smoke inhalation and were sent to hospitals, two of them in critical condition.

Dozens of fire trucks and ambulances were on the scene of the fire that began at 8:09 a.m. (CDT).

Sixty-eight-year-old Joyce Pannell lives on the second floor. She says there was smoke in the hallway as staff escorted residents from the building. She says that when she got out of the building, she could see smoke coming from a window on the top floor.

Pannell was watching the firefighters work while sitting on a blanket on a grassy area across the street with her older mixed-breed dog, Zeke, lying beside her. Both were covered with a blue blanket to ward off the chill from temperatures in the mid-40s.

Pannell worried because the dog hadn't received his medicine yet.

The high-rise blaze comes a week after a pre-dawn fire swept through a historic downtown church, flicking off embers that set fire to three other buildings, one of them 22 stories tall. That fire destroyed the church and one other building but caused no injuries.

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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