Nashville Fire Department Investigating Fatal Fire at Storage Facility
Kendra Loney; Public Information Officer
Incident caused extensive damage to at least 37 storage units
The Nashville Fire Department Fire Investigators are working to determine what caused a fire at 5916 Robertson Avenue on Saturday, July 4, 2020.
Around 10:40pm a witness on scene called 9-1-1 to report smoke coming from one of the buildings at the Cube Smart storage facility.
NFD personnel responded to the location and found multiple units throughout the building on fire. They were met with extreme heat, smoke and chemicals in the air from various burning objects.
Crews made an interior attack forcibly opening units to locate and extinguish the fires. Due to many of the units being locked with hockey puck padlocks, gaining access was very difficult. Crews cut holes in doors and the roof to assist with ventilation and extinguishment.
Upon gaining control of the fire, personnel were sent inside to check for fire still burning and perform overhaul.
Overhaul is an operation conducted once the main body of the fire has been extinguished; consists of searching for and extinguishing hidden or remaining fire, placing the building and its contents in a safe condition, determining the cause of the fire, and recognizing and preserving evidence of arson.
During this time NFD personnel found a body inside one of the units.
Crews additionally monitored for high levels of hazardous chemicals in the air. Ammonia-like odors were present and using a photoionization detector (PID) hazard crews reported multiple detections of life-threatening levels of iodine in the area. Personnel withdrew from the building.
On Sunday, Hazmat crews returned to the scene to perform air monitoring. All levels reported were in normal range at that time.
Fire Investigators have determined that the fire started in the unit where the deceased victim was found. Evidence collected in the unit of origin points definitively to materials used for meth production.
The affected building houses 115 units. Of those, 7 were damaged by fire, 30 were damaged by radiant heat from the fire and nearly all have some smoke damage and/or water damage.
The Fire Marshal will continue to investigate the cause of the fire. The Davidson County Medical Examiner will confirm the identity of the person along with the manner and cause of death.
There were no injuries to NFD personnel who responded to this incident.