The DeKalb County Fire Rescue Department received a standing ovation as county officials recognized firefighters for saving more than 100 people at an apartment fire in January.
On Jan. 3 at approximately 5 a.m., residents living in Avondale Forest Apartment Homes in Avondale Estates were awakened by police and firefighters banging on their doors.
According to DeKalb fire officials, some parents had to drop their children from a balcony into the arms of firefighters below.
Some of the footage of the rescue was caught on camera and went viral.
“I am proud to join with board, employees and residents in recognizing the brave and courageous men and women of DeKalb County Fire Rescue,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said.
More than 60 firefighters were on the scene Jan. 3 as they saved multiple children and a woman confined to a wheelchair.
The fire injured 12 people, eight of whom were children. Approximately 50 people were displaced by the fire.
Capt. Jackie Peckrul was one of the firefighters who caught a child during the incident.
“It’s a testament to the training, commitment and courage of our public safety employees. [Peckrul], who herself has triplets, knows how to juggle some babies, am I right?” Thurmond said, laughing.
Recently, Capt. Scott Stroup was reunited with the child he caught. The reunion was featured on WSB Atlanta and ABC News.
DeKalb County Fire Chief Darnell Fullum said every firefighter played a role in the outcome of the incident.
Fullum said 13 of the 26 fire stations in DeKalb County sent a unit to the Jan. 3 fire.
“Each firefighter played a role in the positive outcome of this event, including extinguishing the fire,” Fullum said. “Capt. [Eric] Jackson used the phrase that we were ‘catching babies like footballs.’ Well this was our Super Bowl…and we won.”
DeKalb commissioners officially declared Jan. 23, 2018, DeKalb County Fire Rescue Day in DeKalb County.
“They don’t come for the paycheck, although that 2 percent sounds really good,” said Fullum. “You are served by one of the nation’s best fire departments and we are happy to serve you.”
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