Augusta firefighters save residents from apartment building fire


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – On the second floor, at the Hal Powell Apartments is where the fire started Tuesday, June 1. Fortunately, everyone who lives in the apartment building got out safely.

“We’ve been here years and we’ve had minor tragedies but nothing like this to evacuate,” said Billie Walden.

Ruth Gibson said, “When the man came on the speaker, that I knew something was wrong because of the alarm. We kept hearing the alarm!”

The fire call came in at 6:54 pm. Firefighters got to the scene just three minutes later. Pamela Brown lives on the third floor.

She said, “The lady I take care of and first there wasn’t no smoke on our floor so, by the time I went back to her house, you could just see the smoke coming into her apartment. I’m trying to tell her, come on Ms. Walter Mae!”

As smoke billowed through the building, people rushed down the stairs as fast as they could.

“Everybody got out safe. We helped each other coming down the stairway and we did what we was trained to do. And thank God everything turned out good,” said Walden.

Firefighters had to extract two people from windows on the second floor. One with a ladder, the other with a bucket truck.

Brown explained, “I’m able to move, it wasn’t difficult for me. But it was a man that had no legs. He was up on the second floor so he was right across the hallway where the fire was.”

Several people were treated on scene for smoke inhalation but nobody was taken to the hospital.

“We appreciate everything Augusta fire and you all are doing. This is a blessing,” said Walden.

The Hal Powell Apartments were built in 1973. The building is seven stories tall with 100 units. Some people say it’s time for renovations.

Brown said, “I know they’re trying to do something with it but it’s just nuh-uh. We still got to hurry up.”

The cause of the fire is being investigated but continue to count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 for the latest developments on this story.

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