The Avondale school community is working to assist seven Avondale Elementary School families who were displaced by a massive fire that occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 3, at the Pine Tree Circle Apartments.
“Our social worker and counselor are working directly with the families to determine their needs, and the school community, which includes the PTA and the Avondale Elementary School Education Foundation, is committed to meeting those needs so families can get back on their feet,” said Patti Ghezzi, who is helping coordinate the effort.
The PTA is collecting clothes and other necessities, as well as gift cards. A Go Fund Me account also has been set up to assist the families, Ghezzi said.
The families escaped with only the clothes on their backs, officials said. DeKalb County Fire Capt. Eric Jackson said parents were tossing babies to firefighters below then jumping to save themselves. .
“When they (firefighters) arrived on the scene, they were only concerned about saving lives. The fire was pretty well engulfed. They didn’t have time to put hoses down first. They had to rescue the people,” said Jackson.
Jackson said DeKalb Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Crump heard people screaming and firefighters were responding to get people to safety.
There were no fatalities. Jackson said 12 people, eight of them children, were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.
The fire started around 5:26 a.m. and firefighters arrived on the scene at 5:30 a.m., Jackson said. About 45 firefighters responded to the blaze.
“It took them about four hours to contain the fire,” said Jackson. “We contacted MARTA to send buses over to get the displaced residents out of the cold.”
Firefighters had not determined the cause of the fire as of Thursday night.