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Burnt food blamed in Forest Park fire

By Ed Brock

The remnants of a burned dinner are considered the cause of a fire that blazed through eight townhouse units Sunday evening.

Only two of the eight townhouse were being leased, Clayton County Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Hood said, and the fire started in one of the occupied townhouses around 8:05 p.m.

“The occupants had a kitchen fire earlier in the evening and it appears they took some burnt materials to the back patio,” Hood said. “It wasn't extinguished like they thought.”

Hood said the burnt food started a fire that went straight to the attic of the building, an attic shared by the units around it in a “mansard roof” design. That's how the fire spread.

“There's just enough room for fire to get in and travel,” Hood said.

That structure provides plenty of “voids” to hide a fire, making it difficult to fight.

Hood said the Hunter's Bay building is an older design.

“Anything built now is up to stricter codes,” Hood said.

Henry Free, who lives a couple of doors down from the burnt apartments,.” He said he is concerned to hear that design feature of the building. “Of course there are kids over here.” He also said he is concerned with people breaking into empty apartments near his.

On the other hand, Ernest Hamrick, who has lived in the complex for about 20 years, said the fire has not caused any more alarm for him living there. “It doesn't bother me,” he said.

The resident of the apartment left for a dinner appointment and had come back to discover her home on fire.

Firefighters were still on the scene on Monday making sure the fire was completely out. About 45 firefighters with 20 pieces of equipment responded to the blaze.

Three adults and three children had to be relocated.

Hunter's Bay management could not be reached for comment.