Atlanta Apartment Fire Prompts 2 Arrests, Fireworks May Be Cause
The building is expected to be torn down due to the extensive damage.
Two arrests have been made in connection to the massive apartment fire in Atlanta that forced hundreds to evacuate. Officials have stated that fireworks fired from the roof of the building may have been the cause of the Nov. 10 blaze.
The incident occurred a little after 10:30 p.m. Friday at the Reserve at LaVista Walk apartments in northeast Atlanta. As first responders arrived at the scene, the top of the complex was nearly engulfed in smoke, as over 80 firefighters worked to stop the spread of the flames while evacuating individuals from the property. The quest to completely put out the fire lasted well into the morning, as reported by WSB-TV.
While the exact cause of the fire remains unknown, Robert Stokes, 43, and Charnelle Gunn, 35, were arrested on the charges of first-degree criminal damage to property and reckless conduct for allegedly starting the incident by lighting fireworks on top of the property. The rooftop location also made the building’s sprinkler system ineffective, with a delayed response. The two are currently being held in Fulton County Jail.
Twenty-eight people have been unable to return to their homes, with 20 families being assisted through the aid of the Red Cross. Seventeen people have also suffered from minor injuries and received treatment for smoke inhalation.
On Nov. 14, the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department let residents return to obtain essential belongings, such as their cars.
“Our focus has shifted to the occupancy of the 2000 building,” stated Battalion Fire Chief Matt Driver in a quote shared by Atlanta News First. “We’re allowing them to get their cars out and we’re now shifting that operation to letting them get the essential items out of their buildings and mainly just taking care of them.”
As for the building’s future, plans have been made to contact its owner to begin the process of tearing it down, as it is uninhabitable to live in, given the damage.