Former Memphis Home of Elvis Presley Catches Fire

A fire broke out Saturday at the former home of Elvis Presley.

Memphis Fire Lt. Wayne Cooke said the department responded to the home just after 7:30 a.m. CT. The fire was under control by 7:52, he said.

Cooke said he did not have an estimate on how much damage the house sustained.

The cause was electrical and started in the wall between the living room and dining room, he said. The home was unoccupied and undergoing renovations.

Rhodes College is the steward of the house, now owned by music industry veteran and philanthropist Mike Curb. As an extension of the Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes, the home hosts small VIP events and private music concerts.

John Bass, executive director of the institute, said he hadn’t seen the house yet Saturday afternoon to know the extent of the damage.

The house was undergoing repairs after a water pipe burst in January, he said. As a result, almost all the furniture in the house was in a storage unit in the driveway. The few artifacts that remain from when Presley lived in the house were secured on Rhodes’ campus during the renovations, Bass said.

“The mission is to really research Memphis music in a variety of ways, so we use that house, or we have in the past, as a resource for our students,” Bass said.

Presley purchased the home in 1956. He lived there for just over a year, during which he skyrocketed to fame, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show and recording “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”

“He was 21 when he lived there, around the same age as our students, so we use it as a space to inspire our young students of today,” Bass said.

Neighbor Ron McCrarey, who had been in the home once before, said he was able to get a look inside the house from the carport after the fire was put out Saturday.

“All the walls are blackened,” McCrarey said.

He said construction crews have been working on the house all week.

McCrarey said he was outside at 7 a.m. and didn’t see any signs of a fire across the street. But 45 minutes later, he said, smoke was pouring out of the roof and fire trucks filled the street. Firefighters climbed onto the roof to vent the smoke, he said.

“You couldn’t actually see the flames, just the smoke,” McCrarey said.

Source: USA Today | Jennifer Pignolet