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Jumpers avoid injury while escaping Dawson County fire

Blaze was contained to the 4-unit apartment building

POSTED: June 19, 2011 12:47 a.m.
Michele Hester /Times regional staff

Four units were destroyed early Saturday morning when a fire broke out at Dawson Forest Apartments, near Ga. 400 and Beartooth Parkway in Dawson County. No one was injured in the blaze that displaced four families. The fire remains under investigation.

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DAWSONVILLE — An early morning fire at an apartment complex in Dawson County displaced four families and forced several people to jump from a second floor window to escape the blaze early Saturday.

Dakota Donaldson, 13, was at a friend's sleepover, having a late night snack, when the group of teens heard what they thought was someone on the roof.

"Then we heard an alarm and looked at the ceiling, and there was a ton of black smoke coming in the house," Donaldson said.

Acting on what Donaldson called "pure adrenaline," he and his friends rushed to wake the others who were sleeping inside the apartment.

"I skipped scared," Donaldson said. "Right when we opened the front door, there was fire everywhere."

With fire blocking the home's only exit, the group of four teens and an adult female ran to a back bedroom, kicked out the window screen and one by one, jumped from the second story window unharmed.

Donaldson said if the teens had gone to bed earlier like they were told, "we'd all be dead."

No one was injured in the fire, which remains under investigation by the Dawson County Fire Marshall's Office, according to Dawson County Emergency Services spokeswoman Cathy Brooks.

Emergency personnel were called to Dawson Forest Apartments, off Beartooth Parkway, near Ga. 400, shortly before 2 a.m.

Firefighters from Forsyth and Hall counties also responded to the blaze that was contained to the four-unit building, Brooks said.

It was not immediately clear how many people were inside the four units at the time of the fire.

"At last update, we were still trying to determine the location of one resident who is thought to be off the premises at the time of the fire," Brooks said.

Donaldson said the families displaced by the fire were staying at a nearby hotel.


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