The cause of the blast is unknown, but a local utility company received a call from a resident about a strong gas smell shortly before the noon blast, according to DeKalb County Deputy Chief of Fire and Rescue Firefighters Melvin carter. He said 90% of the building had been searched and officials were in the process of propping up the rest of the complex so rescuers could continue searching for anyone who might be trapped.
Fire captain Jaeson daniels He had said that two people were missing and that they could have been in one of the three apartments that had completely collapsed. Rescuers had not been able to enter those apartments due to the instability of the general structure.
But WSB-TV reported, citing DeKalb fire officials, that the two people were finally found safe.
A helicopter and drones flew over the structure while the local Red Cross began polling residents to see who might need help finding accommodation. The partially collapsed building and several others nearby were evacuated. Residents were told that Monday was the earliest they could go home.
Brandon Winfield, 28, who lives in a building next to the one that collapsed, said he felt lucky to have avoided injury as he had passed the scene minutes before the blast. The collapse reminded him of a terrible accident that happened when he was a teenager, cutting his spinal cord while participating in motocross.
“I am alive. I am alive,” he said. “I have dodged two bullets.”
Chantel Jefferson, a 21-year-old Amazon driver, had parked her truck directly outside the building and was collecting packages to take inside when she heard a “big bang” and trees and debris began to fall on her vehicle. People ran out of the building, screaming and bleeding from their injuries.
“I was only inches from him. I would have been exploited,” he said. “I’m happy I didn’t do it there.”
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