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Kitchen mishap causes fire that forces family to jump from balcony in Gwinnett



DULUTH, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – Some residents in Gwinnett County were forced to evacuate their apartments overnight as a fire ripped through their building.

It happened around 12:30 am Friday at the Montrose Berkeley Lake apartment complex in the 3700 block of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Duluth.

According to Lt. Justin Wilson, a spokesperson for Gwinnett County Fire & Emergency Service, when fire crews first arrived, two adults and a child were trapped on a balcony.

“We deployed a ground ladder to the third floor, and we were able to escort those people off the third-floor balcony to safety at the ground,” said Wilson.

Three other people had already jumped from their balcony before the first responders arrived.

Officers from the Duluth Police Department assisted firefighters in knocking on doors, all while heavy flames were coming from two apartments. The building’s 20 units were evacuated. Everyone made it out alive, Wilson said.

Six people had minor injuries. Most were treated at the scene. No one had to be transported to the hospital, he said.

Eight apartments are either damaged or destroyed, leaving 18 people displaced – two of them are children. Some of those residents were seen gathering in the management office to get out of the rain. The Red Cross is responding to try to help the affected families find a place to stay.

Wilson said it appears the fire started in the kitchen of one of the apartments.

“According to the occupant in the fire apartment, she was cooking on the stove top when flames erupted,” Wilson said. “She was unable to control the fire and evacuated. Several of the surrounding apartments were alerted by working smoke alarms.”

Wilson provided the following tips on kitchen safety:

“Cook with Caution”

∙ Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.

∙ Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

∙ If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

∙ Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

If you have a small (grease) cooking fire and decide to fight the fire…

∙ On the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

∙ For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire…

∙ Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

∙ Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from outside the home.