At least 49 people now displaced after early morning fire in Gwinnett, officials say

A fire left dozens of families searching for a place to stay after an early morning fire Wednesday, forcing them out of their homes.

The fire occurred at an apartment on Sparrows Lane in Norcross at around 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach reported from the scene live on Channel 2 Action News This Morning.

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Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Matt Johnson reported live from Norcross Wednesday afternoon, speaking with the neighbors impacted.

Someone at the complex called 911 after they saw flames. The operator told the caller to evacuate. Fire crews arrived minutes later and it took them an hour to get the fire under control.

Fire officials initially said at least 24 people were displaced. The American Red Cross updated those numbers to 49 people, including several families with children.


Families who lost everything in the fire told Channel 2 Action News they will need a lot of help getting back on their feet. Many of them woke up to smoke filling their apartments.

When they walked outside in freezing temperatures, they said they watched everything go up in flames. Cell phone video shared with Channel 2 Action News showed flames going through the roof of a Norcross apartment complex.

Elizabeth Pena spoke to Channel 2′s news partner Univision about grabbing her son and getting out as soon as they woke up to smoke. She’s one of 33 adults and 10 children displaced after the fire at Elliot Norcross Apartments.

Another displaced resident, Maria Flores, said the fire destroyed everything in her home and this month’s rent money burned up inside.

The Red Cross is working to help everyone affected by the fire.

For the families now looking for new homes, just as the winter months start, they say they’re leaving it in God’s hands.

Nobody was injured in the fire, according to officials. Many of the fire victims are also working with management at the apartment complex to get through the month and beyond.

It is unclear how the fire started, the cause is still under investigation.

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