Saturday, May 8, 2010
Fire victims try and recover from downtown Atlanta blaze
By Kristi E. Swartz
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
10:04 a.m. Saturday, May 8, 2010
Atlanta fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire that destroyed most of a three-story apartment building near Georgia Tech Friday afternoon.
No injuries were reported in the blaze, which took more than 50 firefighters to contain, but most residents are left without a place to stay.
Among those who lost everything: Georgia Tech basketball player D’Andre Bell, WSB-TV said. Bell, who just finished up his last season at Tech, told WSB he was visiting a friend when the fire broke out.
He grabbed his keys, his phone and his Bible and headed for the window, WSB said. Bell attempted to jump, rescue workers brought a ladder to the window instead.
“I was hanging by my fingers,” Bell told WSB. “All my stuff is gone.”
The fire started at 547 McAfee Street, near the Georgia Aquarium, around 2 p.m.
Residents like Jennifer Thurmond are stuck wondering what they will do next.
"Everything is gone," said the mother of two boys, ages 5 and 4, whose top-floor apartment was destroyed. "Standing on the street and looking up, I can see right through the dining room and the kitchen."
Thurmond, a cafeteria worker at Washington High School, said Red Cross of America is arranging accommodations for displaced residents through the weekend, and the apartment complex management will make apartment units available come Monday.
But she passed on a lesson for other renters ... get renter's insurance.
"You don't think it's a real big deal in the face of all the other bills," she said. "But if I had just taken the time to get it, I wouldn't be wondering now ‘ how am I going to replace everything.'"
Check back with ajc.com for more
Alexis Stevens and Marcus K. Garner contributed to this story.