Firefighters responded at 10:01 p.m., to an occupant report of an apartment fire at the Summit at Dawson Apartments, 1400 block of Chase Lane, NW in (unincorporated) Norcross. 

Crews arrived to find heavy smoke and flames coming out the front door of a second-floor apartment unit.  Residents in the multi-unit apartment building were already in the process of evacuation when fire trucks arrived and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters quickly deployed attack hose lines and immediately entered the burning apartment to extinguish the flames and conduct a primary search.  Additional units were assigned to check for extension and secure the utilities.  Firefighters had to pull part of the sheetrock in the adjoining units to make sure the fire was completely out.  The blaze gutted the origin apartment and caused water and smoke damage in four other units.  The quick actions of the first-arriving crews, and the presence of a firewall, kept the flames from spreading throughout the building.  The fire penetrated the attic directly above and part of the roof near an overhang.  Smoke staining was visible across the exterior balcony and roofline of the building.     

Two adult occupants (a mother and adult daughter) were home asleep inside the fire apartment and were awakened by the smoke alarm.  They discovered the kitchen ablaze as they exited the apartment.  They were reportedly cooking prior to going to bed and the cause of the fire appears to be accidental according to the Fire Investigator.

The American Red Cross was contacted to provide assistance for a number of people (adults and children) from eight apartment units on the affected side of the firewall.  All other residents on the opposite side of the firewall were allowed to return to their apartments and were not being displaced.

According to fire officials, unsafe cooking practices are a leading cause of residential fires.  Firefighters say you should never leave food on the stove unattended.  Make sure the stove burners are off before going to bed or when leaving the home.  Install working smoke alarms on every level of the home and in each of the bedrooms.  Have an escape plan and practice fire drills regularly.  Keep a portable (multi-purpose ABC) fire extinguisher close at hand to douse a small fire.

For additional information on apartment fire safety, please contact the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction/Education Section at 678-518-4845 or e-mail       

EQUIPMENT AT THE SCENE INCLUDED: 4-Engines, 3-Ladder Trucks, 1-Squad, 1-Air & Light Unit, 1-Medic Unit, 1-Rehab Unit, 2-Battalion Chiefs, 1-Deputy Chief, and 1-Fire Investigator

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