ATLANTA — Crews are battling a large apartment fire in northeast Atlanta.
Atlanta fire officials told Channel 2 Action News that at 10:36 p.m. Friday, crews received reports of a fire at the Reserve at LaVista Walk apartments on LaVista Road NE.
When crews arrived, they saw heavy smoke coming from the property.
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Officials said when firefighters entered the building, the blaze was bigger than they thought.
After activating a three-alarm fire, additional crews arrived to assist in the attack.
Several residents told Channel 2′s Justin Carter that they thought it was a false alarm but soon realized something was wrong when they smelled the smoke and heard the commotion outside.
“The fire alarm goes off all the time,” resident Kala Scott told Carter. “I just hung out.”
Scott said people began knocking on her door.
“I heard people knocking at the door, and my friend called me, ‘It’s real, GET OUT!’ I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m out!’”
Authorities added that MARTA was called to help residents who evacuated shelter in place during the investigation.
Fire officials say 17 people were treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries. One cat died in the fire.
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All of the residents of the building have been displaced. There is no word on the number of people that is.
Fire officials say the city has set up the Central Park Recreation Center as a shelter for those displaced.
Authorities told Channel 2 Action News that a “considerable amount” of the complex had been damaged.
Two people, a man and woman whose identities have not been released, have been arrested and charged with criminal damage to property and reckless conduct. It’s unclear if their actions led to the fire.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens shared the following statement:
“First, the City is working our partners to ensure the affected families have the resources and support they need while they face such a challenging time.
Thanks to the swift response time, ongoing training and courage of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, there were no fatalities as a result of this massive fire at such a large multi-family complex. I commend AFRD Chief Rod Smith and his Department, APD, E911, Emergency Management personnel as well as the Department of Parks and Recreation and other agencies who worked throughout the night to open shelter for the displaced families and coordinated emergency supportive services for the days and weeks ahead. Currently, the Red Cross is at our Central Park Recreation Center assisting approximately 20 families.
The City will continue mitigation measures today and anticipates some road closures while the site is secured.
My thoughts remain with the families and the City will continue to find additional ways to support their road to recovery.”
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