Residents recall scary moments in Buckhead apartment fire



ATLANTA - Several residents are getting help from the Red Cross after a large fire tore through the Metropolitan Apartments on Lenox Road in Buckhead.

Atlanta Fire and Rescue Chief Kelvin Cochran said the fire destroyed 32 units in the four-story building. Meanwhile, residents of another 32 units connected to the building are out of their homes because they don’t have electricity.

Three Channel 2 Action News crews were there Sunday morning when more than 100 firefighters from Atlanta and Sandy Springs rushed to rescue residents from the burning structure. Firefighters spent about two hours battling the blaze, which started about 7 a.m.

Neighbor Patrick Jones awoke to the massive response.

"I stepped outside. That's when I started seeing yellow tape, the smoke, the people, the police," he told Channel 2's Ashley Swann.

"I ran down and I saw smoke, and it very quickly turned into a big fire," said Ariaf Setiawan.

Setiawan was one of dozens of residents who escaped, only to watch in disbelief as their homes went up in flames.

Channel 2's Mark Winne saw a number of ladder rescues, for pets and people, inside the four-story building.

Tyonna Wilkerson shared a gripping account of what was going on inside of her unit.

"It was filled with smoke. Smoke was just everywhere. We couldn't see, so we just ran down the stairs. We couldn't get out, and that's when we saw how high the fire was. It was just blowing up. It was huge," Wilkerson said.

Channel 2’s Amanda Cook was able to interview the fire chief toward the end of firefighters' exhaustive mission.

"(Firefighters are) locating spot fires and extinguishing them. In a building like this, based on the type of construction, fires are between the floors and the walls. So firefighters are going in and pulling walls and opening ceilings to make sure the hidden fires are extinguished," Cochran said.

One person was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. Two firefighters were also transported, one with heat exhaustion, and another with third-degree burns on his neck.

Neighbors commended firefighters for their speedy response.

"I thank the firefighters for the job they've done," one resident said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Red Cross officials said they are providing food and shelter for the families displaced in the fire.

Channel 2 Action News

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