Fire crews battled a two-alarm blaze at home that was being remodeled in north Nashville on Thursday morning.
The fire, which investigators said is suspicious, occurred around 5 a.m. on 14th Avenue North and Cass Street.
Heavy flames could be seen shooting from the home when crews arrived. The fire was contained by 6 a.m.
The structure was being renovated as a group home for mentally ill adults and was vacant. No one was at the house when the fire started.
"It was pretty intense when we first got here. It took us a while to gain entry," said Capt. Dwayne Hall of the Nashville Fire Department.
LaSonya Green and her husband, Moses, bought the home only last month.
"It's just devastating because when you try to bring something new to the community to help individuals, something like this happens," said LaSonya Green.
The Greens had been renovating the old duplex for weeks to turn into a residential care facility for adults with mental illness.
Similar to two other homes they own, eight clients were scheduled to move in next month.
LaSonya Green fears someone may have set the fire to keep them from moving in, but she told Channel 4 that neighbors have nothing to fear.
"The clients that we have, they don't bother anybody. They normally tend to themselves, and we keep a close eye on our clients. Both of our homes are supervised 24/7. Our staff is highly trained," said LaSonya Green.
Penny Harris has lived across the street from the home for decades and only learned about the plans for the group home after the fire.
Harris shared her concerns with the Greens.
"I'm not comfortable. We have elderly people who live here who are not able to be by themselves all the time, like my sister, like my next door neighbor. So, yeah I'm concerned just for the safety of the neighborhood," said Harris.
Harris believes the age of the home had something to do with the fire and it wasn't intentionally set.
Green said it's possible that it wasn't arson, but the timing is a little suspect.
"It could have been an accident, but it just don't look right. If someone done this I'll say shame on you," said LaSonya Green.
Officials believe the fire started on the back side of the house, which is a total loss. However, the Greens vow to rebuild and move forward with plans for the facility.
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