THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - The Thomas County fire chief says the Walnut Square Apartment Complex on Hall Road, just north of the Highway 84 / Highway 319 bypass, caught fire Thursday morning.
An entire building in a popular Thomas County apartment complex was completely engulfed in flames. Thirty people escaped the fire without injury.
We found a man who is thankful he was awake when the fire started, as he and others bravely ran into the burning building to help wake people and lead them to safety.
The building at Walnut Square off Hall Road caught fire around 2:30 this morning. That man who knocked on doors to wake people up says a late night trip to Walmart is what kept him up, and potentially saved lives. "I had to save some people's lives. I feel like a hero today," said Dalmyice Daniels.
A state fire investigator shoveled through ash this morning to clean up and figure out what happened. "So I jumped out the car and ran down here and started bamming on doors, and trying to get everyone up--running upstairs then after a while the sirens started coming," said resident Howard Lundy.
Moments later a deputy joins him and the two continue knocking on doors, even kicking some in to wake people up.
Inside one unit, Lundy's ex-mother-in-law.
"I was really bamming. I was bamming on her door, and I came around and started bamming on her glass, her windows. Trying to make sure we got everyone out. That was the main thing. Just get everyone out," said Lundy.
Luckily, everyone did get out. The eight unit building is a total loss though. Thirty people are now homeless with nothing left.
Nearly 20 firefighters responded to the home and fought flames for several hours this morning.
"I got a new respect for smoke. We went upstairs and that smoke was so thick up there I couldn't even breathe so we started crawling around bamming on doors on the crawl just trying to make sure we got everyone out," said Lundy.
The fire investigator says he's not sure where the fire started at this point, and it's also unclear how it started. The fire was contained to only one building.
Red Cross volunteers from Moultrie and Valdosta joined Red Cross Disaster Program workers to meet with and offer assistance to the Thomas County residents who are homeless.
The Valdosta Red Cross says that 11 people have been given financial assistance that will help them with food, clothing, shelter and other necessary items.