2 killed in apartment fire during MFD's 'brown out' - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

2 killed in apartment fire during MFD's 'brown out'

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The fire happened around 4 a.m. Saturday at Wingood Manor Apartments, which are located near the intersection of Winchester Road and Goodlett Street. The fire happened around 4 a.m. Saturday at Wingood Manor Apartments, which are located near the intersection of Winchester Road and Goodlett Street.
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Saturday's deadly apartment fire that killed two people, is still under investigation, while some fire trucks were out of service to save money. 

Video shot from Pamela Isabell's cell phone shows the start of the fire across from her building.

But as the fire spread, and before the fire department arrived, Isabell ran across the street.

Isabell told us she went door to door, knocking, pounding, doing anything she could to try to get everyone's attention but the flames were too much for the upstairs apartments.

Isabell watched as several trucks arrived.

"They pulled the body out and I'm seeing them pumping," said Isabell.  "I'm actually there seeing them pumping and everything."

The two men pulled from the building later died.  All of this happened at the start of a brown out weekend for the Memphis Fire Department.

Brown outs happen when fire trucks are taken out of service in an effort to cut down on overtime. The fire happened in Truck 21's territory.  Truck 21 was one of four trucks browned out that day.

"I don't like it at all, it's nothing I prefer to do as fire director, its something I don't want to do. We want every truck in the city to be fully staffed, everyday all day," said Isabell.

Fire trucks need personnel to operate them, but if too many firefighters call in sick then the fire department has to pay overtime to keep the trucks on the street.  Declaring a brown out can save money, though Union representatives say it's not a safe solution.

Sources say Truck 21, responding to this territory, was in a brown out on Saturday morning.  That makes tenants like Isabell nervous.

"It's just sad, it could have been me. But it's just hurtful that somebody died," Isabell explained.

Memphis Firefighters Union President Thomas Malone said he could not comment on Truck 21 until he had all the information.  He did say, however, that brown outs are a dangerous way to save money and says it will only get worse if they continue.

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