Two injured, 37 homeless after Saturday morning Brookhaven fire

Crews and residents work fast to save lives

BROOKHAVEN, Ga -- Two people were injured and 37 others were left homeless after a Saturday morning Brookhaven apartment fire.

The call went out around 8:30 a.m. As DeKalb Fire Rescue arrived, they immediately realized they had to act fast because they learned two people were possibly trapped inside.

"My other roommate had to jump from the third floor," resident Jorge Beltran said. "Because he couldn't get out the front door."

But it was a banging on Jorge's bedroom door that made him jump out of bed shirtless and wearing no shoes.

"I opened my door. When I opened my door, I just see smoke," Beltran said. "I didn't think of anything. I have to get out. I have to get out. If it was 5 minutes more, it was going to be over."

It was a matter of quick-thinking by friends and staff at Brookstone Gardens Apartments. 

PHOTOS: Brookhaven apartment fire

"The maintenance guy was banging on the door," Thomas White said.

He was being warned to flee a fire that could have quickly gotten out of control. DeKalb Fire officials said it started in one building and jumped to two others destroying a dozen units in its wake. It took a massive effort by firefighters to get it under control.

"There is some connection between these buildings - at least the ones involved with the fire," Captain Eric Jackson said. "That's why the exposure issue is pretty important to us because we wanted to go ahead and attack that fire before it began to run roofline which it had already done - being a center core fire.

As for Beltran and the other families who have been displaced, they have to pick up the pieces.

"I got somebody to take me to buy some shoes, some clothes," he said. "Gotta work tonight, gotta make the money all the money that I be saving is in my room."

It's not clear if the victims had to be taken from inside the apartment or escaped on their own. Rescuers said the resident with burn injuries is in serious condition at a local hospital. The other victim, who suffered from smoke inhalation, had moderate injuries. The cause is still under investigation.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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