Condos destroyed in blaze, no injuries despite ladder rescue

No one was injured though two people survived a harrowing rescue when a 24-unit condo in south Fulton County was destroyed by fire Friday.

Firefighters used a ladder truck to pluck two people from the third floor of the four-story structure, said Keith Padgett of the Fulton County Fire & Rescue Department.

One resident, Clarice Green, described the thick smoke she encountered when she climbed the stairs to the top floor to alert a neighbor.

"When I opened the door, the smoke knocked me back. It was black," said Green, 75. She went back down the stairs and was able to warn her neighbor from a balcony. "We look out for each other," she said.

Two people were home in the unit where the fire started, said Padgett, who is the chief fire marshal. He said it was unclear what caused the blaze but that it didn't appear to be arson.

"It doesn't appear to be suspicious at the moment, but we haven't had a chance to actually get into the apartments and go through them," Padgett said. "We've got a lot of hearsay and rumors, but I need to actually investigate the scene."

The blaze destroyed all units of the privately-owned Camelot Condominiums in the 5600 block of Old National Highway.

The 45-year old wood buildings had come under a fire safety review recently. Officials deemed the club house unsafe and ordered it shut down until a renovation could be completed, Padgett said.

A private fire hydrant on the property failed to work Friday despite an inspection in October that said it was operational. Firefighters lost time because they had to connect a 1,000-foot hose to a public hydrant out on Old National Highway, Padgett said.

"We had a delay," Padgett said, adding that it was only a few minutes. He said the condos were a "total loss" and that the Red Cross and Fulton social workers were helping the 14 displaced families.

Pete Combs of AM 750 and now 95.5FM News/Talk WSB contributed to this article.