Residents begin to pick up pieces after fire destroys apartments

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 7:48 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - More than 50 families are looking for new homes after three devastating apartment fires in Nashville over the past five days.

On Monday morning, residents returned to the Arbors of Brentwood and British Woods Apartments after flames ripped through buildings over the weekend.

The sounds of fire alarms still going off inside collapsed buildings could be heard as Harold Hill picked up his car from the parking lot outside of the British Woods unit where he had lived for the past six years.

Hill said he was lucky his car was not damaged like several others that sit charred outside the building. He was on his way home when his sister video called him to show the flames that had engulfed their entire building.

“Trying to stay strong, but it’s hard,” Hill said. “It’s definitely been an emotional rollercoaster. Just expressing and shedding tears. I’m not going to lie. It’s been very hard transitioning.”

Hill said he is thankful his sone was not home when the fire started, but it was hard to watch as all of his son’s photos and preschool certificates turned to ash. He was able to see the smoke for miles away as he drove home.

“Everything can be replaced, even sentimental stuff,” Hill said. “You’ve just got to create new memories.”

Hill was upset he could not get into h is apartment to see if anything could be salvaged, but said he understands it is not safe after part of the building collapsed. Two fences now surround the burnt structure and security guards are patrolling to make sure people stay away from the area.

It’s a similar scene at the Arbors of Brentwood.

Taylor Lillybridge said he was woken up early Sunday morning by the fire alarm, worked to get outside the building and then went around pounding on doors to make sure no one was left inside.

“It looks like a war zone in the parking lot with all the ash everywhere,” Lillybridge said. “Seeing it in this state, it’s just gut-wrenching. I got out that night with my wallet and my cell phone and not very much else. The whole rebuilding process is going to start from the ground up, from clothes to kitchen utensils to literally anything a common person has in their house.”

Lillybridge said all his music equipment, clothes and new decorations for his apartment are a total loss. He even had to get a new key made for his car on Monday because his original keys were melted by the fire.

The rebuilding process is even harder for Lillybridge because he had just gotten back on his feet after losing his last home in the Bowling Green, Kentucky, tornado in December.

“I’ve been in a lot of creative processes in my life through music, fashion and all sorts of different things, so you lose wardrobes, instruments,” Lillybridge said. “This was my fresh start to Nashville anyways, so I had gone and decorated my apartment. All of those things are gone now.”

The first fire in this string of destruction at the Foxcroft Apartments last Wednesday sent three residents and several firefighters to the hospital. The American Red Cross is still housing 13 families at an emergency shelter.

The Red Cross is asking for additional volunteers and donations after having to assist at three large fires in such a short amount of time.

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