A local community is coming together to help dozens of people displaced when a fire destroyed part of an apartment complex in DeKalb County, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Nearly 80 people required assistance with lodging and other emergency needs after the fire tore through the Avondale Forest Apartments on Pine Tree Circle near Memorial Drive last Wednesday, according to the American Red Cross of Georgia.
Firefighters kicked down doors and rescued a wheelchair-bound woman. Parents jumped from balconies and tossed children as young as 1-month-old to waiting firefighters below, DeKalb fire Capt. Eric Jackson said. Eight children and four adults were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.
“We just had chills down our spine when we saw the children having to be dropped from balconies into the arms of firefighters,” neighbor Patti Ghezzi told Channel 2.
Ghezzi, a former education reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said she started a donation drive to make sure seven families with children at Avondale Elementary School could get new uniforms.
The fundraising effort quickly expanded.
By Wednesday morning, Ghezzi had collected $11,835 in donations. The goal is $12,000, according to a GoFundMe page created for the effort.
“When you ask a family around here to donate one thing, they don’t just donate one thing.” Ghezzi told Channel 2. “They donate about 100 things.”
People handed over laundry detergent, clothes, toiletries, “glassware, full sets, pots and pans never used,” Ghezzi said.
The families are set to get the donations on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.