Heavy smoke was pouring out of the roof at Hickory Creek Apartment when firefighters arrived at the complex on Vultee Bvld. off Murfreesboro Pike. They immediately called in a second alarm and brought in extra people and equipment.

35 people escaped the burning apartment building. No one was hurt. But there’s a lot of damage inside.

It took more than an hour to put out the flames. 

District Fire Chief Chris Downing said fire crews were looking for hot spots and searching for 7 cats that were in the building when the fire started. 

He said investigators are checking out reports that maintenance people were welding before the fire started. 

Downing also said the mansard roof made it hard to fight the blaze because there are layers of plywood and other building materials between the roof and the attic. They had to attack it with hand tools and chain saws to vent the roof. 

Downing appealed to people who live in apartments to have an escape plan and a meeting place for every member of the family. 

“If you’re ever caught in this scenario you want to go ahead and get with your family, your mom, your kids, and decide where you need to meet.” Said Chief Downing. “When the alarm goes off there’s a lot of smoke and there’s gonna be a lot of stress. So you want to set that up early. That way your parents and children can meet up and know everybody is accounted for. That way you’re also not sending firefighters in to see if they’re in there. Because if we think someone’s inside we’re going regardless of conditions.”