Cause of leak at Midtown apartments under investigation as residents start to return home

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Residents at a Midtown apartment complex are returning to their homes Wednesday morning after having to evacuate due to a carbon monoxide leak.

More than 250 people who live in The Venue apartments were forced to find somewhere else to stay Tuesday night after dangerous levels of carbon monoxide were found inside the building.

MORE: 4 animals dead, 5 people hospitalized after carbon monoxide leak at apartment complex

Residents said the discovery began with panic, with one person alerting neighbors after she found her dogs dead.

“I heard my neighbor. She started yelling, ‘My dogs are dead, my dogs are dead.’ She starts banging on the walls, saying ‘Something is wrong with the apartment. Everybody get out!’” said resident Yadi Garcia.

That was followed by a frightening text from the leasing office: “EVERYONE PLEASE EVACUATE THE BUILDING.”

A Memphis Fire Department spokesperson said the carbon monoxide leak may have started from a boiler that was being repaired.

One firefighter who responded to the scene was taken to a hospital in non-critical condition.

Four pets died and five people were hospitalized during the incident.

Residents began returning around 7 a.m. Wednesday, some to damaged doors and cracked windows.

One resident told FOX13 the situation was very scary “because I live here with my daughter. She was just terrified, she though the house was on fire, she was like, ‘all the Christmas presents!’”

Firefighters reportedly had to tear down doors then replace them before residents could return.

Residents said they’re still dealing with heat issues due to the boiler, a problem the complex shared on Nov. 15, acknowledging the heat was off.

On Tuesday, a message from management said that hot water would be shut off while repairs were being made to the boiler.

One resident said they have no timeline for when the hot water and heat could be back on.

“We haven’t had any hot water in about four to five days and we haven’t had any heat at all,” they said. “It’s warmer outside than it is in the building.”

Some tenants said they’re still in fear for their safety, even though sleeping in the cold was uncomfortable.

The Venue apartment complex sent FOX13 News a statement Wednesday afternoon. It reads below:

“Currently the gas is turned off for the building until we can determine the cause of the leak. This is a very active investigation but our main concern is for the safety of our residents. We will turn the gas back on once we have been told that it is safe to do so. As we receive more information I will let you know.”

Crews from the Memphis Fire Department responded to a gas leak at The Venue apartments on Central Avenue on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.