DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — An explosion ripped through a DeKalb County apartment complex Sunday, leaving dramatic scenes of damage and injuring at least four people according to fire officials.
It happened at the Arrive Perimeter complex at 2000 Asbury Square just beyond the I-285 Perimeter outside Dunwoody. The precise cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.
Fire officials said four people were injured and were taken to the hospital. One had a burn, another had a fractured leg and they did not provide details on the two others injured. DeKalb County Fire said the two people who were previously unaccounted for are safe.
Dunwoody Police described a "massive" explosion and confirmed there were at least some burn injuries. Police also reported a "strong smell of gas" in the area. Atlanta Gas Light said it was on scene assisting first responders.
A witness told 11Alive photojournalist Mike Nicolas he felt the force of the explosion from his neighboring apartment complex.
"This explosion, man, it hit the whole block. It was felt (by) like four complexes at least, the whole block felt it," the witness, Richmond Punch, said. "Explosion - bam! Like a bomb, like a helicopter, or like as if somebody crashed a car into the apartments. It was crazy."
Punch said he was immediately reminded of the building collapse in Florida in June.
"Next thing we know we're coming outside, there's people everywhere around, running, we're trying to tell everybody to get out. I started thinking about Florida, what just happened down there," he said.
He added that he'd heard people have been calling for at least two weeks reporting the smell of gas.
"People started calling the company, calling the property, saying 'hey we smell gas,' 'hey we smell something.' They've been calling every day, even up to this morning they were calling, saying 'hey we smell something,'" Punch said.
Deputy Chief Carter confirmed that the complex's leasing manager made a call Sunday for a smell of gas inside the structure prior to the explosion.
In a statement, Atlanta Gas Light said: "Atlanta Gas Light continued to support first responders to secure the scene following an incident near the 2000 block of Asbury Square. Our crews have now completed safety checks of all relevant Atlanta Gas Light facilities to ensure those not impacted by the incident are operating safely. Natural gas remains turned off to the apartments directly impacted by the incident, and there are no additional service outages."
Dunwoody Police added in another tweet: "If you live in the Arrive Apartment and are not affected by the explosion, please remain in your home. The entrances/exits are closed off as the fire dept. works. Please be patient and understand there is a huge incident scene ongoing right now."
The Georgia Red Cross Disaster Action Team is also responding to the explosion. They have set up a reception area at a nearby hotel parking lot and are providing food, water and temporary lodging for those affected.
"At this time, utilities for the building are shut off," the Georgia Red Cross said.
Carter said it would be very slow for crews to continue searching the most badly-damaged buildings, due to structural instability. He said it might be a number of hours until residents could return to some apartments, until they are able to clear things out.
He said the focus of that search at this point was on three units that were the worst damaged. The building with the most damage was described as three stories tall, and has been evacuated.
Dunwoody Police said DeKalb County Fire, Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas are still working to ensure the apartments are safe for the units that were unaffected by the fire.
Arrive Perimeter apartment complex explosion
On social media, there were numerous posts showing the damage.