Stanley Anderson carries what few belongings he could salvage from his water-logged apartment Monday morning after fire ripped through one building in the Polo Club complex Sunday night. 
Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Firefighter injured, 38 people displaced after DeKalb apartment fire

A fire at a DeKalb County apartment complex sent four residents and one DeKalb firefighter to the hospital Sunday night.

Fire crews arriving about 8 p.m. Sunday rushed to evacuate all 19 units in one building at the Polo Club apartments off Hambrick Road. The entire breezeway was up in flames, cutting off escape routes for many of the people inside, according to DeKalb fire officials. 

Stanley Anderson, a veteran, said he had just a few seconds to get out after a neighbor alerted him to the fire. He was in his bedroom watching football when he heard someone banging on his front door.

“He was beating on the door, and when I opened the door, nothing but fire,” he said. “That’s all I could see.”

One woman told Channel 2 Action News she decided to jump to safety from the balcony of her second-floor apartment when she couldn’t get out her front door. 

“I just knew I had to get out,” Shannon Fikes said. “If I didn’t I would be burned. I just lost everything.” 

Another woman told Channel 2 her children, one of which had to go to the hospital, had to jump down a flight of burning stairs to escape their apartment on the third floor. 

“After seeing my kids have to dive down a set of burning stairs ... I couldn’t even think,” Valencia Lanquedoc said, holding back tears. 

The five people taken to the hospital had minor injuries, according to DeKalb fire. No one was seriously injured, but 38 people were displaced from their homes.

Anderson went back into his apartment Monday morning to survey the damage. He was only able to recover a few of his belongings from his home of six years. 

“A pair of shoes, a shirt, that’s about it,” he said. “Everything else is wet.”

The Red Cross is helping with emergency essentials and will continue to work with the families to help them recover their losses in the days ahead, a spokeswoman for the organization said. 

Channel 2's Rikki Klaus reports.