VIDEO: The two men killed in a massive overnight fire at Midtown Park Apartments in Columbus that also displaced dozens of people have been identified.
Muscogee County Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley says 42-year-old Donald Lechowicz and 65-year-old Herman McCikens died as a result of the fire.
More than two dozen Columbus residents were displaced, waking up as their apartment complex goes up in flames and smoke.
Crews say they are confident that everyone inside the building at the time of the fire is out of the building, but are continuing a thorough search to be certain. The fire started just before midnight on Friday, July 31 at Midtown Park Apartments on 12th Street.
Julie Lechowiez lives upstairs in unit 210 and says the fire may have started in her apartment.
“My pitbull has a bad habit of playing really rough, maybe he knocked the candle over,” said Lechowiez.
WTVM-TV ABC 9 Columbus
The Gainesville Fire Department was able to quickly extinguish the flames of a local house fire late Friday night.
The fire occurred on the 400 block of Prior Street around 10:30pm, with reports of a person still inside the residence.
A bystander was able to help remove the occupant, who had suffered smoke inhalation. The resident, a woman estimated to be in her mid-20's, was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment. She is currently listed in serious condition.
Damages to the home were estimated to be around $10,000, with fire damage to one room and smoke damage to the home's living room and exterior. Officials said that water damage was minimal.
The scene was turned over to the property owner after crews confirmed all hotspots and smoke had cleared.
WGCL-TV CBS 46 Atlanta
A longtime first responder with Paulding County Fire & Rescue retired Thursday after 24 years on the job.
Steve Mattix was already working for DeKalb County when he was recruited by his hometown Paulding County fire department as its training officer. Mattix's experience was especially important as Paulding County's fire department grew from all-volunteer to professional.
Mattix trained and mentored hundreds of personnel, who all appreciated his penchant for using humor to teach, said Lt. Steve Mapes, spokesperson for Paulding County Fire & Rescue.
He finished the last few years of his career in Paulding County as a fire apparatus operator, most recently responsible for Engine 8 in the Crossroads area. Mattix also retired recently from DeKalb County Fire & Rescue after 30 years of service. He served DeKalb as a captain and was frequently called up as an acting battalion chief.
A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony was held Thursday for the Troup County Fire Administration Building and Emergency Operations Center.
Community members gathered to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed building, which was completed in the spring. The building offers several additional amenities to the Troup County Fire Department.
“With the addition of this new facility, we were able to successfully acquire enhanced training capabilities for our firefighters, as well as a brand new centralized location for the Troup County Emergency Operations Center, which has already been a huge benefit to the community during the current pandemic,” said County Manager Eric Mosley.
The building accommodates administrative offices, meeting areas, classroom space for the enhanced training capabilities, and the Troup County Operations Center.
WTVM-TV ABC 9 Columbus
Separate fires on opposite ends of Rabun County kept firefighters busy early Saturday, resulting in damage at a Clayton home and destroying a home on Lake Burton.
Rabun County Fire Services Stations 1, 6 and 12 responded to 143 Begonia Court, Clayton, at 3:38 a.m. for a fire in an occupied single-family home.
First arriving units reported fire showing from the eaves of an attached garage of a 1,500-square-foot home, said Rabun County Assistant Fire Chief Justin Upchurch.
“A quick attack was made and that resulted in a fast knockdown with the fire contained to the garage area with the only extension into the wall between the garage and living area,” Upchurch said. “The last apparatus left the scene at 6:22am. The fire is thought to have been caused by lightning.”