Firefighters kicked down doors, caught babies and rescued wheelchair-bound adults after a massive fire tore through a DeKalb County apartment earlier this month, officials said.
The blaze at the Pine Tree Circle complex on January 3, 2018, forced parents to jump from balconies and toss children as young as 1 month old to waiting firefighters below, DeKalb fire Capt. Eric Jackson said.
"We were catching babies like a football," Jackson said. "Literally."
About 45 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was first reported about 5 a.m. local time.
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"Before we had even put a hose line on the fire, we had firefighters that were bringing adults out," Jackson said. "So that just shows you the bravery and the expeditiousness of our firefighters putting life safety first before they even put any water on the fire."
Eight children and four adults were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, Jackson said. Most of the injuries were due to smoke inhalation.
The fire was contained about 7:40 a.m. MARTA buses were called to get displaced residents out of the cold, Jackson said. It was 28 degrees by the time the fire calmed.
Apartment management is also opening an office to house residents temporarily, and Red Cross workers are responding to the scene, Jackson said.
The cause of the fire and other details have not been released.