Cobb County

Woman dies in condo fire in Austell

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A woman said she rushed to help her best friend as flames tore through her condo, but the fire was too intense. The woman in her 60s died in the Austell fire early Tuesday morning.

Channel 2's Audrey Washington was the only reporter at the scene on Drennon Avenue where investigators believe the fire broke in a second floor bedroom.

Three people lived in the condo. Washington spoke to Diane Elsner, who say she did all she could to rescue her friend upstairs, but the flames were just too intense.

"I loved her to death and she was like a sister to me," Elsner said.

Elsner told Washington she rushed to get to her disabled husband when the flames broke out because he was in the room where the fire started. Once she carried him down the stairs it was too late.

"Once I did that and tried to go back up, it was just too hot," Elsner said. "I couldn't breathe."


The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Denell Boyd with the Cobb County fire department said.

The victim's identity hasn't been released pending notification of her family.

"It looks like it did start in a bedroom upstairs," Denell said.

Angel Rivera lives nearby and only learned of his friend's death when he got home from work.

"(She was) a good-hearted person," Rivera said. "She's going to be missed definitely."

Rivera said they were just discussing their plans for Thanksgiving.

"This was just yesterday and now this morning this happens," Rivera said. "So yeah I'm shocked."

Investigators say they think the condo is a complete loss. The unit next door also suffered heavy fire damage.

As Elsner's husband recovers at a nearby hospital, she's left to wonder what she will do without her best friend.

"I can't believe it. I'm in shock," Elsner said. "I can't believe she's gone."

The Red Cross will assist with temporary housing for all the people displaced by the fire.

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