Close to 100 evacuated from housing complex - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Close to 100 evacuated from housing complex

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – More than 200 people were forced out of their homes tonight after a fire at Hudson Malone towers in downtown Albany. A lot of elderly and disabled people live in that public housing high-rise.

Emergency workers rushed there late this afternoon and helped about 100 of those residents get out of the smoke-filled building.  Monday night, the electricity is off, so those folks must stay somewhere else.

Away from the threat of a fire, but into the threat of taking on mother nature and severe weather. Fire Chief James Carswell said, "We're really afraid of the weather. We just don't want them to be here exposed if the weather turns sour, so we'd rather get them to a shelter and then sort it out from there and that's what we're trying to do now."

As soon as firefighters got the call of fire at Hudson Malone towers, they called in back up. The fire moved through electrical wires from the 4th floor where the fire started, to the 5th. So electricity had to be cut.

Carswell said, "Once we cut the power off and a lot of them in wheelchairs we had to physically tote down the stairwell so it was labor intensive that's the only alternative we've got." Many of those people loaded onto a bus, or waited outside the tower for family members to take them home.

Sara Wiggins is diabetic and didn't get her medicine when she was rushed out of the building. "I hope I can get my medications from up there though."

Ward 3 Commissioner Elect Chris Pike said, "They've had to evacuate the whole building, so we're having to relocate everybody to a temporary location and you have a lot of folks with medications, so now the fire department is going in and locating medication and making sure it goes to the assigned room, so it's a big undertaking." But worth it. Because many of the residents here are already in poor health, getting them out of the building as soon as possible was critical.

Chief Carswell said, "They're already at the point where a little bit of smoke can actually do a lot of damage." Paramedics checked residents on site and transported one patient to the hospital to be checked out a little closer.

Palmyra hospital provided blankets for the residents while they waited outside tonight. Those who didn't have anywhere to stay tonight were taken to the SOWEGA council on Aging senior center on Pine Avenue.

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