DeKalb Co. firefighters douse apartment fire started by child - CBS46 News

DeKalb County firefighters put out apartment fire accidentally started by child

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Several DeKalb County families found themselves homeless Tuesday night after a fire destroyed everything they own.

Latamara Jackson said her aunt barely survived the fire which spread quickly at the Paradise East apartment complex. 

"She's hyperventilating, she stayed in the smoke an extremely long time, and she also went back in to get her baby," Jackson said.

It began in a second floor apartment when a 7-year-old boy lit a couch on fire with a lighter.

"I just saw black smoke and I just grabbed my baby and I didn't get my pocket book or nothing, I just grabbed my baby and everyone came out of the house or whatever," tenant Charlotte Ivey said.

Fire investigators said every resident made it out alive, but not without a struggle.

"The people who stay next door to me, they were throwing their babies out of the window because the fire started from their house," Tenant Denesha Magitt said. 

"A guy was at the bottom and the girl was at the top, that was their aunt and they had to throw them out of the building to save their lives and one of the children were trapped in the back bedroom," Jackson said.

DeKalb fire fighters put out the flames in 15 minutes, but it was enough time for the fire to destroy eight units. 

Investigators said they will be referring the child that started the fire to a juvenile fire setters program in the county. 

"Our arson investigators are on scene. They are going to get their report and then refer that child to this program that is handled through the court system here in DeKalb County," DeKalb Fire Deputy Chief Norman Augustin said. 

Investigators said they do not intend to charge the parents at this point because there are no signs of neglect.

"This is fire safety week here in DeKalb County and to drive the point home we have to be very careful out here supervising the kids and making sure they're up on fire safety as far as playing with matches, lighters and it's very important that we get that message out," Augustin said.

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