• Firefighters catch babies thrown to safety during apartment fire

    By: Steve Gehlbach

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - An estimated 50 people are without a place to live after a massive fire tore through a Decatur apartment complex.

    The fire started around 5 a.m. Wednesday at the Avondale Forest Apartments.on Pine Tree Circle near Memorial Drive in Decatur.

    NewsChopper 2 was over the scene as flames grew and smoke billowed out of the building. 

    Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach learned firefighters caught babies as young as a month old.. 

    Capt. Eric Jackson with DeKalb County Fire and Rescue told Channel 2 Action News that four adults and eight children were hurt in the fire.

    He said their injuries were minor and mostly related to smoke inhalation. He said they were taken to the hospital. 


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    He said the cause of the fire is still unknown but said more than 45 firefighters are at the scene.

    Firefighters kicked in doors and ushered out residents when they arrived on the scene, Jackson said. 

    He said the fire has grown since their arrival but the building, which is made of about 20 units, is contained. 

    “We’re not worried about any exposure to the left or right,” Jackson said at the time of the fire.

    It quickly spread over a breezeway into the rest of the building of 23 units.

    One of the victims told Gehlbach hearing the screams coming from the people trapped was the most frightening.

    “Jumping out of the building. Jumping out of their balconies. Someone said they threw their baby outside and fireman caught the baby,” they said.

    More than 50 people were displaced and are now getting help from the American Red Cross.

    A MARTA bus showed up shortly after the fire to take residents to the management office to keep warm.

    As of Wednesday afternoon, all the people displaced were moving to a nearby recreational center for shelter.

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