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Fire displaces 27 people, destroys Riverdale apartment

Twenty-seven people were displaced and an apartment was destroyed after a fire ripped through a Clayton County complex late Sunday, officials said.

The fire started about 8 p.m. at the Villages on the River in the 6700 block of Church Street in Riverdale.

Fire investigators believe the blaze may have started in a vacant unit in the building, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Residents Rickey Tobler and Shamika Statham told the news station they heard a loud boom and saw flames outside a front window.

“I was really shaken by it,” Tobler said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

The American Red Cross of Georgia was assisting affected families.

“We’ve been called to five apartment fires this month” in metro Atlanta, agency spokeswoman Divina Mims-Puckett said.

Last week, a fire displaced about 30 people and destroyed much of a 10-unit condo building in Gwinnett County just before Thanksgiving, officials said.

RELATED: Gwinnett condo fire displaces 30 people just before Thanksgiving

The blaze at Robinwood Condominiums near Norcross started about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and took more than 30 minutes for firefighters to get under control, county fire spokesman Justin Wilson said.

Since Nov. 10, 51 other people have been displaced after fires heavily damaged or destroyed apartments in Atlanta, Decatur and Doraville, Mims-Puckett said.

In a separate incident in Jackson County, human remains were found about 8 a.m. Monday inside a burned home in the 600 block of Fuller Road, according to the office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.


RELATED: Georgia Apartment Fires: What you need to know


The body was sent to the state crime lab for identification and autopsy. 

The number of fires this month in metro Atlanta prompted the Red Cross on Monday to issue a statement urging people to take proactive measures.

ALSO: This Atlanta Fire Rescue team works on multi-story fires

“We want people to learn how their family can prevent home fires,” Mims-Puckett said.

The Red Cross suggests people:

- Install smoke alarms on every level, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

- Test smoke alarms every month and change the batteries when needed. 

- Talk with family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

- If a home fire occurs, get out; stay out; and call for help.

In other news:

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Bullet holes are both outside and inside the home that belongs to Monroe's assistant police chief.

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