House fire claims 6 lives in Atlanta - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

House fire claims 6 lives in Atlanta

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(11Alive) Atlanta fire department officials said six people died in an early morning fire Monday.

According to Atlanta fire officials, the fire was in a house located in the 1400 block of Andrews Street NW. The victims are four men and two women, but their names or ages have not been released yet. Officials with the Fulton County Medial Examiner's office said autopsies will be conducted tomorrow.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they described the blaze as heavy. AFD Spokesperson Cortez Stafford said the heavy flames made it difficult for firefighters to get inside. He also said the home did not have an exit on the back end. The roof also partially collapsed in the blaze.

Stafford said investigators have not determined a cause for the fire. He said the flames were a hindrance.

"When you have a lot of fire, it makes it difficult, a little bit more difficult to determine the source of the ignition and exactly where it started," he said.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives representatives were on the scene later in the morning to begin an investigation where it was determined that five of the victims were in the rear portion of the home, while the last victim was in the front. Stafford said it's possible the six died from smoke inhalation. He said investigators were not able to determine whether there was a smoke detector inside the home.

Atlanta fire officials initially identified the home as a boarding house but later said that was not the case. Neighbors described the homeowner as a Good Samaritan who let people come to his house and stay if they had nowhere to go.

Because officials have not released any details about the victims, it is unclear if the homeowner is among them, but people like Janet Ragland, who had stayed at the house before, called the homeowner a good man.

"He gave them food," she said "He helped the homeless out, he took people places."

The homeowner's cousin, Virgia Glass said that was the type of person her cousin was.

"He was a neighborhood guy who would take people to the store, or doctor appointments or the hospital," Glass said. "Whatever they needed to do he was the guy you would call."

11Alive's Valerie Hoff spoke with a woman who said she's waiting to see if her brother was in the house. Stacy Etheridge stood outside the house waiting for word.

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