Apartment fire victims want to know why the fire hydrants did not work

A massive fire destroyed more than a dozen homes in an apartment complex Wednesday evening.

Tenants tell us almost all of their belongings are gone and they have questions they want answered.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones has been working to find out why the fire hydrants did not work.

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The fire chief told Jones that meters show these hydrants should be getting water, so, he believes there is a leak somewhere.

That provides no comfort to the people, like Shawanda Walton, who lost everything when their homes went up in flames.

“I been here 9 years my whole entire life was in that apartment.” Walton said.

She was understandably emotional as she realized everything she owned went up in smoke when a massive fire destroyed her home.

“For my 10 year old to see... To look up there and see his bedroom was on fire... devastating.” Walton said.

It was just after 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening when the fire destroyed 15 units at the Ashford at Stone Ridge Apartments.

Walton said her son told her neighbors were screaming their building was on fire.

“All I could think was let’s get out.” Walton said firefighters got there quickly.


Chester Jackson began recording video of the firefighters.  He watched as crews sprayed water from their truck on the fire.  Then he says the flow of water stopped.

“There it go. They ran out of water. Now everybody looking for a fire hydrant.,” Jackson said.

He said firefighters went from hydrant to hydrant, but couldn’t get water.

“I’m like why in the world we ain’t got no water out here.,” Jackson said.

We asked Clayton County Fire Chief Landry Merkison that question, and he said meters show water is flowing in the area.

“I believe there to be a leak from what we can tell right now. But we have not found the source of that.” Merkison said.

We saw crews out checking water valves and checking the hydrants.

All Walton knows is the fire has turned her life upside down.

“I feel hopeless. Homeless. I have to start over.,” Walton said.

The chief said the hydrants were inspected back in October and there were no issues.

The complex and Red Cross are working to make sure people have somewhere to stay.

Many people at the apartment complex said there could have been loss of life if not for neighbors working so hard to get everyone out of their homes.

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