Apartment wall collapses just feet away from children playing outside

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Part of an apartment building collapsed just feet from where children were playing in DeKalb County.

A woman tells Channel 2's Christian Jennings she could have been killed.

"I ran in the kitchen, and 10 seconds later, I hear something say boom, boom, boom," Ciera Bennett said.

Bennett was standing on a porch with her 4-year-old cousin seconds before the front awning of her apartment building came smashing down.

She thought a tree had fallen -- but not quite.

"The whole roof collapsed. I was like, 'What the hell?'" she said.


Bennett rushed to get her three children and two young cousins out of the apartment.

"I’m just like let me, get the kids out the way 'cause I didn’t know what was going on, the ceiling, anything could have just caved on in on us," she said.

A DeKalb County firefighter told Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach the wood was old and rotted. With all the rain, it collapsed.

Now, Bennett’s family has nowhere to sleep. She’s waiting on the Red Cross for help.

Gehlbach reached out to the complex. A representative asked him to leave the property. The representative said he didn't know how part of the building could fall down or if it could have been prevented.

On Monday, Gehlbach saw workers show up to start the clean up and repairs. Neighbors sent photos showing what the building looks like now.

Channel 2 asked the fire marshal and code enforcement if the property has any current violations.