Fire destroys homes of 28 people at apartment complex in Virginia-Highland neighborhood
ATLANTA - Neighbors are coming together to help the 28 residents displaced after a massive fire tore through their Virgina-Highland apartment complex.
It happened around 2 a.m. Sunday morning at the North High Ridge Apartments along North Avenue.
"You don't really know what to do when you lose everything," Chad Palmer said.
Palmer rushed back to his apartment Sunday morning when his wife said fire alarms were going off.
"It was just the end, but as time went on it just slowly kept taking over the rest of the apartments because the wind and stuff was adding to it," Palmer said.
"The wind didn't help at all," Atlanta Fire Department Battalion Chief Deunte Grier confirmed. "With high wind, we had embers flying across. So, we're actually fighting this fire and we're watching the other structures as the embers fly at houses and things of that nature."
"I was thinking its so small and so far away from our apartment that it wouldn't actually reach it," Palmer added. "I figured the fire department would be able to knock it out before it got to our apartment."
He and his family are some of the dozens of people who have tragically lost everything. Fire officials say there was a partial collapse at the back on the building but no one was inside at the time. Luckily everyone made it out safely.
"You just – you feel helpless, and at the same time you just know you have to do something. You can't not do anything," neighbor Lindsay Berhane said.
Neighbors like Berhane who watched as the building engulfed in flames are now doing what they can to help, setting out donations in a nearby front yard.
"My heart was breaking for everybody who had to witness that, first of all, and then the aftermath afterwards of processing everything that you've lost," Berhane said.
They're collecting clothing items, toiletries, blankets and any other essentials to help people start to get back on their feet.
"We just literally started throwing clothes over the fence on her yard, and you know spreading the word on our street," Berhane said.
"It's a blessing many people have come together to try and help us. I mean, this is amazing especially for the people who need it right away, right this second. It's just amazing that I have a job that was willing to do the same for us," Palmer said.
Right now, the cause of the fire has not been released. Neighbors have also set up a GoFundMe account for the people who have lost their homes.