Clarksville family loses home after string lights cause electrical fire

A Clarksville family has lost everything after an overnight fire caused by an electrical issue sent their home up in flames, Sharon Danquah reports.
Published: Jan. 15, 2023 at 11:31 AM EST
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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A family has been displaced after a house fire early Sunday morning on Hattington Drive in North Clarksville, the Clarksville Fire Department reported.

The fire was reported around 3:15 a.m. Officials said the family escaped from the home without injury. The American Red Cross will be assisting the displaced family.

The fire investigator on the scene determined that the fire started from an electrical malfunction of an outdoor string of lights on the back deck. The investigators said this was confirmed by video from a Ring camera.

Neighbors said the family of four made it out within seconds of the home going up in flames.

“It’s absolutely devastating,” said Neighbor Cierra Williams. “That’s the only way you can describe something like this, absolutely devastating.”

Both Cierra and her husband Tyrn were witnesses to their friend and neighbor’s home burning down.

Cierra said it was around 3 a.m. she heard someone yelling and screaming, and when she recognized the voice of her friend and neighbor she said her heart dropped.

“We heard banging on the door, the doorbell ringing while someone was saying ‘help my house is on fire’,” Cierra said.

Tyrn said they just saw smoke, amber and fire everywhere.

Crews told the Williams that the fire started from the back deck and by the time we got out here it was coming through the roof.

The heartbreaking situation was all caught on video. A back porch surveillance camera shows where decorative string lights hung on a fence started shorting out just behind a grill.

“It started arching like it was shorting out and you can see it on video camera, and it just kept shorting and shorting until it finally caught,” Tyrn said.

After the sparks, flames quickly started to spread before the video cut out and the grill’s propane tank exploded.

“I’ve seen house fires, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It was crazy,” Tyrn said.

Crews spent hours putting out the flames while homeowners stood with only the clothes on their back. Everything else was now ash.

“What can I do to help this family and I couldn’t do anything, but just comfort and pray. Just comfort and pray,” Cierra said.

Neighbors are asking anyone who can donate and help this family.