DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Officials say 18 people have been injured, seven of them from jumping, after an apartment fire in DeKalb County on Friday.
DeKalb County Fire Rescue Captain Dion Bentley said the fire occurred at Fairington Village Apartments in Stonecrest - an address on Fairington Village Drive, around 2:50 p.m.
Video from the scene showed people falling from windows to get away from the fire as it quickly spread and blocked breezeways that would have otherwise allowed their safe exit.
"We had kids in their pampers under two coming out the window," said nearby resident Tekela Xavier.
As a result of the fire blocking exits for several apartments, seven people were forced to jump from the second and third floors of the building. Of those seven, six were caught by a resident, William Cox who stepped in to help.
"I walked down and I don't see anyone running out of the building," he said. "So, I'm screaming, 'Please, the building is on fire. If you're in there, get out.' And they just started throwing me their children."
Among the seven were a baby and a pregnant woman.
"My adrenaline was just rushing and I just wanted to get everyone out the building," Cox said.
Others were evacuated by DeKalb Fire with one being rescued by a ladder on the second floor.
Of the 18 injuries reported in total, 17 people had to be hospitalized with injuries ranging from fractures and burns to cuts and bruises.
As the heavy smoke cleared, the aftermath of the fire became evident with a large portion of the roof completely gone - the impact of a fire that was already rising through the second and third floors as well as the attic when crews arrived.
Multiple units were damaged in the fire. Exactly how it started is still under investigation.
In the meantime, the fire department publicly thanked Cox for his quick efforts on such a frantic afternoon, crediting him with helping make sure a bad situation didn't have the horrible ending it could have.