“It’s not real”: Family of 17 escapes overnight fire

ARLINGTON, Tenn. — Even with two fire hydrants just yards from their property, a Shelby County family watched their entire home go up in flames early Wednesday morning.

“The fire department said they could have had it out in ten minutes if they would have had water,” said Joel Mercer, who escaped from the home with 16 members of his family. “They had their hands tied behind their back.”

Mercer said the firefighters arrived within minutes, but he told FOX13 that low water pressure on Pleasant Top Drive prevented the first responders from using the fire hydrants on his street.

“We lost everything,” Mercer said. “Everything we own is gone.”

A spokeswoman for Memphis, Light, Gas and Water told FOX13 that the utility company is working to learn if and why water pressure was too low for the fire hydrants in the neighborhood.

The home’s owner has insurance, but the family of 17 did not have renters insurance. Mercer told FOX13 that the family lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of items, from furniture to clothes to a restored Mustang on the property.

“When I opened my blinds, all I saw was fire all across my window,” said Savanah Mercer, who said she yelled at her family to evacuate.

Thankfully, the family found all their dogs and cats after the intense night. Mercer said they even found their two missing cats and dog in the rubble on Wednesday.

“It’s so hard to describe,” said Zachary Walker. “You don’t think it would ever happen to you. It’s a tragedy.”

In the short-term, the family needs baby formula, clothes and diapers as they’re working to rebuild their lives.

If you want to help, you can donate to this GoFundMe link.