29 displaced by massive fire, partial collapse at Gwinnett apartment building

More than two dozen people were displaced by a massive fire at a Gwinnett County apartment complex Monday night, authorities said.

A 10-unit building at the Landmark at Bella Vista Apartment Homes partially collapsed because of the blaze, destroying the homes of 29 people, Gwinnett fire spokesman Donald Strother said.

Fire crews were sent to the complex off Satellite Boulevard in unincorporated Duluth about 8:30 p.m., he said. Multiple callers reported the flames to 911.

Credit: Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Credit: Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services

When firefighters arrived, flames and smoke were “aggressively pushing out of the backside of the building,” Strother said.

“Parts of the structure had already started to collapse,” he said. “Firefighters attempted to make entrance into the building to begin extinguishing the flames and search for potential victims, but conditions were not tenable.”

The firefighters were pushed back outside the building by the heat from the blaze. Two ladder trucks were used to spray the building.

At 11 p.m., the fire was mostly extinguished, but crews were not able to safely enter the building because it was structurally unstable, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Once the fire was under control, crews checked the building for victims. No one was inside, and a property manager said all of the residents were safe.

Credit: Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Credit: Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Two people were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and a third was assessed at the scene, Strother said. No other injuries were reported.

Video on social media shows flames engulfing the top floor of the building. A large plume of smoke can also be seen.

Huge fire at landmark Bella Vista

Posted by Ray Tadeo Jr on Monday, December 30, 2019

Gwinnett fire investigators are still trying to determine what started the fire.

The American Red Cross is assisting the 11 families impacted by the fire by providing lodging, clothing and food, spokeswoman Sherry Nicholson said in a statement.

“Caseworkers will continue to work with the families to help them get back on their feet and to provide additional recovery resources available in the community,” Nicholson said.

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