An apartment manager is trying to help residents after a fire ripped through a Clayton County apartment and displaced 65 of them.
“The manager of the apartment complex is collecting food and clothing donations for those that were displaced from their homes,” Clayton County fire Battalion Chief Laura Richardson said.
Investigators don’t know what sparked the blaze, which started shortly before 2:20 p.m. Wednesday at the Ashwood Ridge Apartments in the 200 block of Upper Riverdale Road.
“The fire is completely out,” Richardson said. “But the cause is still under investigation.”
Twenty units and two vehicles were destroyed, authorities said.
“My kids had gifts up under the tree,” resident Rosland Full told Channel 2 Action News. “I was done.”
Full told Channel 2 she asked a fire worker on the scene to move her car and handed over her keys.
“She didn’t get a chance to move it,” Full said. “I lost my unit and my car. I don’t have anything.”
Workers with the American Red Cross of Georgia were called to the complex to help 33 people who requested assistance, agency spokeswoman Divina Mims-Puckett said.
The organization is providing food, clothing, lodging, replacement medications and other essentials.
“Red Cross caseworkers will continue to work with additional families in the days ahead to help them get back on their feet and connect them with additional recovery resources available to them in the community,” Mims-Puckett said.
Elizabeth Somerville, another resident, said she was at work at a Dunkin’ Donuts in the area when she saw smoke.
She didn’t think it was her home because the smoke didn’t look like it was coming from the direction of her apartment.
“I just knew it wasn’t my house,” Somerville said.
She didn’t realize her home was burning until a co-worker took her home and she saw a building burning.
At one point, she left. When she came back, she watched the wind spread the blaze, Somerville said.
She lived in the apartment with her two daughters, son and husband.
The children were bused to the area from school, but the driver opted not to drop off the kids. Instead, the driver headed away from the blaze and went back to campus, Somerville said.
Luckily, the family was already planning to move into a new apartment Friday and had not started Christmas shopping.
“So we’ll just start all over,” Somerville said.