{VIDEO} DeKalb firefighters save dozens from apartment blaze

 

As babies were dropped from balconies

 

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 door.

 According to DeKalb County Fire and Rescue officials, a fire started at the apartment complex and was quickly spreading.

 “You never really think something like that is going to happen until it happens to you,” said Jelani Carroll, a resident living in one of the now-damaged apartment buildings. “We have life, so I’m happy for that. All the material stuff, we can get that back. You can’t get life back.”

 Carroll said he’s been a resident of the apartment complex for the past three years. He said DeKalb County police kicked in his door and informed him his family was in danger.

 “I’m just thankful we made it out,” Carroll said. “It’s tough. It’s really, really tough and it’s scary. At 5 a.m., your brain is still trying to catch up with your body. I’m just trying to stay strong for my kids.”

 The fire started at the 200 building of the complex, but as of Jan. 3, a cause for the fire is unknown, according to DeKalb County Fire and Rescue Spokesperson Capt. Eric Jackson.

 

 Jackson said the department’s execution of handling the fire was “flawless” as some parents droped their children from the balcony to awaiting firefighters below.

 “What we did not expect was to have people at the other end of the building,” Jackson said. “Not only were we knocking on doors trying to get people out, but our firefighters were literally catching babies off the balcony.”

 Jackson said approximately 50 people were displaced by the fire.

 “The priority was the babies and our firefighters caught a few. We also had one of our chief officers bring a guy down in a wheelchair. It was all hands-on-deck,” Jackson said.

 Forty-five firefighters were on the scene during the fire and according to Jackson, 12 people were taken to the hospital, eight of which were children. A few adults suffered from minor burns during the fire, Jackson said. Displaced families were offered assistance by the Red Cross.

 “We were in life-safety mode first. We want people to have a plan and a fire escape plan. We want people to make it to safety and have working smoke alarms in the house,” Jackson said. 

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