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At least five sent to hospital, two rescued in major DeKalb apartment fire

The fire tore through a portion of The Forest at Columbia apartments early Saturday morning.

At least nine people were injured, five of them transported to a hospital, and dozens displaced in an apartment fire that tore through 12-16 units in DeKalb County early Saturday morning, fire officials said.

Battalion Chief Brett Miller told 11Alive that firefighters arrived on scene to "heavy fire conditions" and "immediately went into rescue mode."

Miller said one person who was asleep inside their apartment was rescued, while another man was rescued at the rear of the building using an extension ladder.

"Units did an outstanding job getting to those victims," Miller said. 

The battalion chief also said there were reports of "jumpers" - people jumping from windows or balconies to escape the fire. The building appeared to have about three floors.

"Several people could be seen jumping from the second story of the apartment building," DeKalb County Fire Rescue said on Facebook.

DeKalb Fire posted photos of the fire to their Facebook page:

Credit: DeKalb County Fire Rescue
Credit: DeKalb County Fire Rescue

One resident, Johnny Hill, told 11Alive that he'd been living at the complex for four-and-a-half years. He said a neighbor came and alerted him just as he was about to take a shower, and so he rushed to get himself and his fiancée outside.

Hill said the fire spread so fast it seemed as if there was an accelerant. He said he was grateful that he and everyone else got out alive, but that the fire had caused a total loss for residents.

"It's time to start all over," Hill said.

According to Miller, the call for the fire came in around 2 a.m. Saturday morning. He said the Red Cross was now assisting displaced residents.

The Red Cross said it was assisting 36 people from 13 families who were displaced.

The conditions of the people taken to hospitals was not immediately available. Miller said some of them were taken to emergency rooms.

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