Reserve at LaVista Walk apartment fire: 2 arrested for blaze believed to have been caused by fireworks

A massive apartment building fire burned overnight in the LaVista Park neighborhood near LaVista and Cheshire Bridge roads, leaving dozens of residents without a home. Atlanta police now have two people in custody.

The fire started around 11:30 p.m. Friday. It burned more than eight hours and required more than 80 firefighters to tackle it, according to officials. 17 people were treated for smoke inhalation and minor, non-life-threatening injuries. One cat died.

The building, Reserve at LaVista Walk, has several businesses on the first floor and 284 apartment units on the upper floors, according to property details listed online.

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Fire breaks out at Reserve at LaVista Walk on Nov. 10, 2023. (Credit: Photojournalist David Killebrew)

Road closures are currently in place.

The American Red Cross is assisting the 28 residents who were displaced after all residents were required to evacuate.

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Robert Stokes (Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Investigators believe the fire may have been started by fireworks that were ignited from the roof of the building. Robert Stokes and Charnelle Gunn were charged with criminal damage to property in the first degree and reckless conduct. 

The two suspects are being held at the Fulton County Jail.

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Fire breaks out at Reserve at LaVista Walk on Nov. 10, 2023.  Drone photos were taken on Nov. 11, 2023. (Credit: Photojournalist Billy Heath)

Mayor Andre Dickens issued the following statement on the significant overnight fire at the reserve at LaVista Walk complex.

"First, the City is working our partners to ensure the affected families have the resources and support they need while they face such a challenging time.

"Thanks to the swift response time, ongoing training and courage of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, there were no fatalities as a result of this massive fire at such a large multi-family complex. I commend AFRD Chief Rod Smith and his Department, APD, E911, Emergency Management personnel as well as the Department of Parks and Recreation and other agencies who worked throughout the night to open shelter for the displaced families and coordinated emergency supportive services for the days and weeks ahead. Currently, the Red Cross is at our Central Park Recreation Center assisting approximately 20 families.

"The City will continue mitigation measures today and anticipates some road closures while the site is secured.

"My thoughts remain with the families and the City will continue to find additional ways to support their road to recovery."

Video timeline shows the progress of the massive fire at LaVista Park