DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Several families are still going through the rubble of their apartments, burned in a massive fire.
The fire destroyed an entire building at Shallowford Gardens in DeKalb County leaving nearly 20 people without homes overnight Tuesday.
Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach learned renters were about to move out soon because the complex was recently sold to DeKalb County schools to put a new elementary school on the property.
Everyone has until the end of August to get out. Many had already left.
Some of the victims told Gehlbach it was on one of the recently vacated top floors where the fire started.
"It looked like a small fire. After an hour it's like...extended," said Freddy Perez, one of the victims.
Everyone made it out safely including many children.
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Renters said they saw workers recently taking out appliances and wiring on the unit where the fire started.
It was one of the current renter's father who ran upstairs and tried putting out the fire himself.
“He got a metal bat, broke the window, kicked the door open. He extinguished at least 3 fire extinguishers in there. He managed to calm it down a little, then police came at that point and got everyone out,” said resident Sophia Salazar.
Investigators plan to return to determine what caused the fire.
So far, they say there are no signs that the fire was intentionally set.
Renters at DeKalb Co apt destroyed in fire now salvaging what they can. 19 people displaced, but everyone okay pic.twitter.com/wHcGZknQVc— Steve Gehlbach (@SteveGWSB) July 11, 2017
Cox Media Group