By Joe Johnson
At least a dozen families reportedly were displaced Monday morning after a large fire swept through their west Athens apartment complex.
Athens-Clarke County Fire & Emergency Services received an alarm at 7:17 a.m. concerning a structure fire at Westside Commons on Westchester Circle, according to ASSFES Battalion Chief Nate Moss.
“A substantial column of smoke could be seen by fire units responding to the blaze,” Moss said.” When our first units arrived to the scene, they reported heavy fire coming from the upper apartments in center of building 109. The fire was already spreading through the attic at the time of arrival.”
The fire official said that while firefighters prepared to attack the fire from the exterior of the structure, both with hand lines and two aerial ladder trucks, Athens-Clarke County police officers helped to make sure that residents were were notified about the fire and were safely evacuated.
“National EMS responded to assist if needed, but thankfully no injuries were reported,” Moss said.
After the main body of the fire was extinguished, firefighters made entry into the individual apartments to extinguish hot spots and to search for possible victims, according to Moss, who said that all residents were accounted for in the affected units.
He said the Red Cross responded to care for the immediate needs of residents that suffered property loss and were displaced because of smoke, fire, and water damage.
“It is estimated that at least a dozen residents have been displaced due to this fire,” the battalion chief said
Investigators were at the scene Monday afternoon to try to determine the fire’s cause and origin.