Homeowner says he will rebuild after fire destroys Memphis home


by Gene Kang


Posted on February 22, 2013 at 6:47 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 22 at 1:37 PM

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MEMPHIS, Ind. (WHAS11) -- A Memphis Indiana family escaped a fire around 4 Thursday morning and the homeowner said working smoke detectors are what alerted him to the fire.

Firefighters were called out to the 100 block of Cronewood Lane in Memphis, Ind. where the family has lived for about seven years.

"It was just black smoke. It was quick, never see anything burn that quick," homeowner Matt McAfee said.

Dramatic video shows the intensity of the fire as it consumed what McAfee described as his dream home.

We found him in the front yard watching helplessly with his dogs - thankful his family of six got out alive.

McAfee said: "We were laying in bed asleep and the alarm went off so I went in the kitchen, and, uh, the whole kitchen from the attic was in flames. I ran back in the bedroom and she go the two up upstairs."

McAfee said he then ran downstairs to wake up his mother-in-law and another child. He escaped from the burning home with his wife, mother-in-law and three children, ages 3, 7 and 12 but lost irreplaceable items.

"A while ago she realized her wedding rings were in there," McAfee said.

The back of the house shows the widespread damage, a total loss.

Investigators said it may have started in the kitchen or attic. They still have no cause, but said the flames spread so quickly because the seven-year-old house was made of pine wood or fabricated material that is less dense and burns faster.

McAfee said precious memories went up in flames.

"You know pictures of kids growing up, kids' trophies and things you don't think about and take for granted," he said.

Arson investigators said they don't suspect foul play.  McAfee does have home insurance and said he plans on starting from scratch.