NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Residents at 505 Nashville are still working to pick up the pieces one week after an apartment fire, followed by an electrical fire, displaced hundreds.  

Ryan Murray recalled being just two doors down from the source of the first fire on the 27th floor of the Church Street high-rise, where officials said a basket set on a stove caught fire on Sunday, Sept. 17. 

“I’m packing up to go, and as I’m going, I see black water starting to flood in through the door, so I know it’s real bad at that point,” Murray said.  

That water, coming from building sprinklers, trickled down to electrical panels on the 24th floor, sparking another fire.  

“So I hopped in the elevator to go check on [Murray], and I ended up in the elevator with our general manager while that second fire happened. We were leaving the 25th floor and we just heard a loud boom and he just looked around and said, ‘That’s not good,’” said Angela Arena, who lives on the 25th floor. 

While Murray started making his way down 26 flights, Arena’s escape was slightly more stressful. 

“Getting stuck in the elevator for some time, and then they let us off at the 17th floor, and we all were kind of scrambled as to what to do because both of those elevator wells had no power, one of them was completely flooded,” Arena explained.  

In a statement issued to News 2, building management said they were able to meet with Nashville Fire Chief William Swann and Fire Marshal Lawrence Hutchison, on Friday, Sept. 22. Developer Tony Giarratana requested the meeting due to concerns over building staff being told to turn off an emergency generator, making exits dark and preventing elevators from running. Giarratana called the meeting cordial and productive. 

He said he hopes to see power restored to the building’s apartment units some time this week, as soon as the fans and dehumidifiers dry out the units enough.

Lobby level, amenity level, elevators, and parking levels are all fully powered. We have been continuously testing the apartment levels. Test results continue to trend positive, and we are cautiously optimistic of being able to repower the apartment levels this week. All condo levels are fully powered and operational. We are keeping our residents continuously informed and humbled by our resident’s passion for 505!

My team and I had a cordial and productive meeting with Chief Swann and Chief Hutchinson on Friday. We agreed to work even closer together going forward. We are confident our 505 experience can be beneficial to the Nashville Fire Department and Nashville building owners going forward.

Tony Giarratana

“These units are hot and they’re humid and they’re wet, and they smell. We all had rotting food in our fridges,” Arena described. “I actually walked up there to my unit yesterday and I thought I was going to puke, I had to leave.”

Since then, Arena said staff has gone through and cleaned out residents’ refrigerators.  

She and Murray are now working to sign leases at sister properties, as they both live in one of the 51 units needing extensive repairs. In the meantime, they’re staying in nearby hotels covered by renters insurance.  

“Honestly, I mean, as much damage as the flooding did, I’m grateful for it because if that fire had gotten out of control, I might not have been able to get out of the apartment safely. You know, 27 stories up, help’s not coming anytime soon,” Murray said.  

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Murray and Arena advised others to be familiar with their renters insurance policies, and make sure valuables and collectibles are covered within those policies