New Year's Eve fire displaces Atlanta residents - CBS46 News

New Year's Eve fire displaces Atlanta residents

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Fire displaces southwest Atlanta residents on New Year's Eve 2013 Fire displaces southwest Atlanta residents on New Year's Eve 2013

Instead of celebrating the new year in the comfort of their homes, several southwest Atlanta families spent the midnight hour outside in the cold with firefighters who had just extinguished the fire that displaced them.

At about 11:30 Monday night, Atlanta firefighters responded to the QLS Garden Apartments off Campbellton Road and found heavy smoke.

Ellis Gant lives in the third-floor apartment where the fire originated.

"I had just gotten out of the shower," Gant said. "I was laying down on my couch just cooling off, looking at the football game and I dozed off for a minute."

He told CBS Atlanta News that when he woke up, he smelled a strong odor of gas.

"And then I noticed there was a light coming from my utility closet," he said. "And that's where the fire was. When I opened up the utility closet, flames kind of burst out of the closet. I had a pot on the stove with water. And I threw some water, but it seemed to ignite it a little more, and I got scared. I didn't have clothes on at the time, so I just put on what I could and left out of the apartment. I called 911 in the process."

He said his apartment has significant smoke and water damage. He's not sure what he'll do next.

Red Cross volunteers assisted a total of 22 people who were displaced. No one was hurt.

Javis and Keshia Davis live in an apartment just on the other side of the firewall from Gant's apartment. Their unit had no damage. But as midnight approached, they were still stuck outside in the cold. Still, they celebrated that they had each other.

"We celebrated right here in the parking lot with the family and the firefighters," said Keshia Davis.

"It's a blessing," said her husband, "and we look forward to a great, splendid, safe 2013."

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