Witnesses said an explosion ignited a fire that displaced 16 families, sent several people to the hospital and all but destroyed a 20-unit building at a Marietta apartment complex Monday morning.
Marietta Fire Department Assistant Chief Tim Milligan said firefighters were dispatched to the Crestmont apartments at 500 Williams Drive at about 10:15 a.m. after receiving multiple 911 calls. At least two of those callers said there had been an explosion.
An official cause had not been determined.
City of Marietta spokeswoman Lindsey Wiles said three people were taken to the hospital. Two residents had to be rescued from the affected building, and a third resident had “significant” injuries after jumping from the second story, Milligan said.
“I heard the blow-up, and I went back to sleep,” said Ann Anderson, who lives in a neighboring building. “As I heard more and more screaming, I opened my door to the porch and went outside, and everybody was running and fire trucks were pulling in. … I literally almost had a heart attack.”
Resident Angel North escaped with her 3-year-old daughter after hearing the explosion, which she believed came from the apartment below her. Wood, nails and insulation were strewn about the stairway.
“The future’s kind of a big question mark, but I know that I have support so I’m not overly depressed about that,” North said.
Fifteen apartments in the building were considered a total loss, and the remaining five had significant smoke issues, officials said. Red Cross spokeswoman Sherry Nicholson said a total of 16 families — including 26 adults and 12 children — were provided assistance.
“There were a few more people with injuries who left to get medical attention and were not at the complex,” Nicholson said in an email. “The Red Cross is also ready to assist them later, as needed.”
Crews were still working hot spots Monday evening.