3 firefighters injured in massive fire at Chatham County apartment complex


CHATHAM Co., Ga. (WSAV) — Three firefighters were injured in a fire at a Chatham County apartment complex Saturday. The fire broke out around 2 p.m. at the Liberty Oaks Apartment complex.

Authorities believe the fire started after lightning hit the roof of Liberty Oaks Apartments.

Chatham County emergency officials said it took more than 50 firefighters from at least two agencies to put out this blaze. With a collapsed roof, officials said, there was no saving the building.

Three firefighters with Chatham EMS were hurt after battling this blaze caused by a lightning strike at Liberty Oaks Apartments Saturday.

One firefighter suffered traumatic injuries after a roof collapsed on him. The other two are recovering from second and third degrees burns.

Two of those firefighters have been taken to the burn unit in Augusta. The third was taken to a nearby hospital. Chatham EMS CEO, Chuck kearns confirmed no one else was hurt.

“We are not aware of any citizens who are injured, but there is a search and rescue team in there right now,” He said.

Like Vernon Reese, many people living here watched in disbelief as their homes went up in flames.

“We was just chilling at the house and we heard a loud boom about 30 minutes ago, and something struck,” said Reese.

“That’s my apartment right there,” Reese said as he watched it go up in flames.

Chatham Emergency Services responded to the scene around 2 p.m. They say a lightning bolt hit this roof, eventually causing it to collapse.

“We did request mutual aid from the city of Savannah, they sent multiple units, a truck company, several engines, a rescue, a couple of chief officers,” said Kearns.

Kearns said due to the severity the red cross was called in right away to help any displaced families.

Red Cross volunteers assisted 11 families, consisting of 13 adults and 17 children, providing immediate emergency financial assistance. 

Esther Sheppard, Executive Director serving Southeast, and Coastal Georgia reported each family had a place to stay. 

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