Fire Destroys Clayton Apartments

Ten units of Laurel Pointe Apartments in Forest Park are now uninhabitable as a result of a two-alarm fire which took place early November 29.

The fire erupted around 2:20am low and in the rear of the Clayton County apartment building. No cause for the fire has been identified yet. Quick response from the fire department contained the blaze.

"Pretty much six of the 10 units are destroyed, and the other four sustained smoke damage," Clayton County Battalion Chief Landry Merkison told the papers. "We had the bulk of the fire knocked out within an hour and a half, then we still had hot spots to work on for the next couple hours."

Luckily, no one was injured in the fire. Twelve residents had already evacuated the burning building when firefighters reached the scene, and others were out of town, avoiding a situation which could easily have led to deaths.

This incident follows close behind another fire in Clayton County. Only days before, a two-story home belonging to a family of five burned down on Elizabeth Terrace.

The family had been leaving town for Thanksgiving when they were called back by neighbors to find that their house was a lost entirely. Though the last of the flames were being extinguished by firefighters, their home had been destroyed.

A neighbor reported that a family member first noticed flames coming from the brick home’s garage around 6:30pm. She immediately responded by calling 9-1-1 while her father called the owner of the house, and another family member alerted the other neighbors.

"When our first units arrived, there were flames on half of the house," said Chief Merkison of this fire.

It took about forty-five minutes to extinguish the fire. Fire crews remained on site well into the evening searching for potential hot spots which could spring back to life, while the family stayed Thanksgiving night with relatives.

According to neighbors, the family handled the loss well. When they arrived on the scene with their three children, most of the damage had been done.

"They were pretty calm," the neighbor said. "They had time to process it during their drive back home."

As in the apartment fire, no cause of the fire was immediately apparent.

This time of year in particular, looking forward to the winter holidays with all their light and sparkle, but also the fire danger presented by countless strings of electrical lights, power strips and extension cords, coupled with dry trees, wreaths and festive garland, it is important to remember fire safety. As both these events sadly illustrate, fire can spread quickly and within the space of hours or even minutes, families may lose their homes and everything in them.

Every year, more than 4,000 Americans die in fires, and approximate 20,000 are injured. Most of these fires occur in the home, and many could have been avoided if proper steps had been taken to insure fire safety. Visit firesafety.gov’s page on holiday safety for some precautionary advice.