DeKalb County fire crews feverishly worked to extinguish an apartment fire on the 2300 block of Fairington Village Drive Friday afternoon.

Seven people escaped the blaze by jumping from the building. DeKalb Fire PIO says 18 people have sustained injuries, with 17 being transported to a hospital. 

William Cox had just returned from dropping off his son and was greeted by a neighboring apartment complex billowing with smoke.

“I just started screaming the buildings on fire please get out,” said William.

With no choice, residents jumped from three stories up.

“The third floor, the apartment was on fire they had to jump out the only way they could’ve survived. So I was just sitting there catching them and they knocking me down, but I keep getting back up to catch them,” said Williams who is being hailed as a hero.

From the elderly to babies, all doing what was necessary to survive.

“I lift the window up and then I just started tossing my kids out and then once I got my kids out, I got my mother out,” said Ericka Burns, a mother of three.

Firefighters say the flames at one point were 25 feet above the roof of the Fairington Village Apartments in Stonecrest and melted the side wall of an adjacent building.

“I couldn’t think, especially once I saw the flames it was crazy, I never experienced anything like this in my life,” said Ericka.

The severity of the fire was not lost on anyone.

“This isn’t an everyday occurrence, the amount of people that were extricating and jumping out of the building, that part isn’t very common,” said Capt. Dion Bentley with Dekalb County Fire Department.

Fire crews commending Williams effort to help people escape with their lives.

“Just catch as much people as I can, make sure everybody’s out the house. Once everybody was out the house I was just relived that nobody was killed,” said William.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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