(Duluth, Ga., May 31, 2021) – Firefighters responded at 12:52 p.m. to a resident report of an apartment fire at The Portico Apartments, located at 1171 Preston Park Drive NW in unincorporated Duluth. The caller to 911 reported flames showing from building 100 and advised that the fire was spreading fast.

Crews arrived to find heavy smoke and flames showing from the balcony and in the attic of a third-floor apartment unit on the corner of the building. Firefighters confirmed that the building was evacuated and deployed fire attack and water supply hose lines. Crews mounted an aggressive transitional attack by knocking down the bulk of the flames from the exterior and advancing hose lines to the third-floor breezeway. Firefighters flowed water from multiple handlines and the aerial ladder pipes to bring the blaze under control and complete extinguishment. Firefighters did a great job of stopping the forward progress of the fire by holding it to the left-side of the breezeway. The blaze caused heavy fire damage to two top floor apartment units and extensive smoke, heat, and water damage to five adjoining apartment units. Residents in all 16 units of the building were displaced due to the damage and because utilities had to be cut to the entire structure. Apartment Management and the American Red Cross worked together to provide assistance for approximately 20 people.

Two adult occupants and a child were home in the apartment where the fire started. The man and woman were in the computer room and began to smell an odor of smoke but did not see smoke inside the living space. As the odor progressed, the woman went to check on their son who was sleeping in the bedroom and discovered flames on the balcony of the apartment. The family escaped unharmed and began alerting others to evacuate.

A Fire Investigator responded to the scene for origin and cause determination. According to the investigator, the blaze started on the balcony and appears to be accidental. The investigator was unable to rule out smoking materials as a possible cause for the fire.

While crews were battling the first blaze, a resident from building 900 approached the scene and advised firefighters that there was a kitchen fire in their apartment. Command assigned available crews to check the fire in the 900 building and additional equipment was dispatched based on a pending CAD call. The second fire was contained to an air fryer in the kitchen and caused minimal damage.

Firefighters encourage residents to look for and eliminate home hazards that could cause a fire to start or grow in intensity. Install working smoke alarms and develop a home fire escape plan. Practicing fire safety will keep your family and home safe. For additional information on fire safety, please contact the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction Division at 678.518.4845 or email

INCIDENT DATE: 05/31/2021




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EQUIPMENT AT THE SCENE INCLUDED: 5-Engines, 2-Ladder Trucks, 1-Squad, 1-Air & Light Unit, 1-Rehab Unit, 1-Medic Unit, 1-Medic Supervisor, 2-Battalion Chiefs, 1-District Commander, 1-Fire Investigator, and 1-PIO.


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