Fire investigators take closer look at Dalton apartment fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Fire investigators take closer look at Dalton apartment fire

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DALTON, GA (WRCB) -- Investigators are still trying to figure out what started the fire that spread through an apartment complex in Dalton over the weekend.

Fire broke out at the Legacy of Dalton Apartments Saturday night. All the residents got out safely, but eight families are now left homeless and with most of their belongings destroyed.

The investigation into what caused the massive blaze started Monday.

Cell phone video obtained by Channel 3 shows the fire's intensity.  "I came out and it was a good 50 to 60 feet above the roof line," Legacy of Dalton Apartments resident Skipper George said.

"I was scared to be out here," resident Ali Hamed said.

Monday fire investigators were back on scene to figure out how and where it started and why it got so big, so quickly.

"This spread a little bit further than we're normally able to stop them, and we're just looking at the building construction of how that allowed the fire to travel," Dalton Fire Department Chief Deputy Investigator Gary Baggett said.

After scouring the scorched building for hours, they've been able to narrow it down to the where. "There's a void between the apartments where they butt up to each other," Baggett said.

But, there's still no clear answer on the how. "Until we're satisfied, we'll stay here," Baggett said.

They have ruled out the possibility of arson.

"They've had several fires in this complex in the last five or six years," George said. Fire investigators confirm there have been several fires here in the past, but say there's nothing linking them together. They were all ruled accidents.

"It's just sad, you know," fire victim Tony Harness said.

Tony Harness lived on the top floor in one of the units that got the worst of it. "Furniture, bedroom suites, clothes, all that's gone," Harness said.

He did not have renter's insurance. Channel 3 was there Sunday after his fiancé discovered her wedding dress was one of the only things that came out untouched.

"It's a miracle and amazing and it's meant to be," fire victim Maegan Shaw said.

Despite losing nearly everything, they're keeping their heads up and looking forward to the big day, which is less than a week away.

"We're going to get through it," Harness said.

Investigators with the Dalton Fire Department say they'll go back through the building again with insurance investigators in the coming days. For now, they say the cause is "undetermined."

The complex manager had no comment.

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