COLLEGE PARK, Ga. - Fire ripped through a College Park apartment complex Friday morning, with flames so intense some residents said they were forced to jump from their windows and off their balconies to escape their burning homes.
Investigators told Channel 2’s Audrey Washington that they’re now looking into whether or not someone started the fire on purpose.
“I heard a whole bunch of screaming, ‘Get the kids out!’” said neighbor Neesha Smith.
The fire inside one building at the Lakeside Reserve Apartments complex moved quickly.
“We started knocking on doors and woke up as many people there as we could,” resident Clarence Colbert told Washington.
The flames eventually took over every inch of the building in just minutes. That left the people inside with no other choice but to jump.
“I saw some kids jump out of the window and saw an adult jump out. He was on fire,” Smith said.
One woman and her son leaped to safety from a window. Washington spoke with that woman’s daughter. She said her mom thought she wasn't going to make it.
“She was screaming that she’s going to die. she said, ‘I love you and this is it,’” the daughter said, not identifying herself.
Everyone survived. But in all, four people were hurt and rushed to a nearby hospital. They’re all expected to recover.
On Friday morning, Washington returned to the building and found smoke still rising from the burned rubble.
As for the cause of the fire, arson investigators were on scene. They will make that final determination in the coming days.
Fire officials told Washington that the flames destroyed 15–20 apartments in the complex. Several families are now in temporary housing.
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