Franklin Road apartment complex catches fire for second time in ’13
by Rachel Gray
December 30, 2013 10:10 PM | 3194 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

For the second time this year, residents of Marquis Place Apartments off Franklin Road were displaced after a fire gutted a building during a midnight blaze Monday morning. An official inspects the unit damage.
<br>Staff/Rachel Gray
For the second time this year, residents of Marquis Place Apartments off Franklin Road were displaced after a fire gutted a building during a midnight blaze Monday morning. An official inspects the unit damage.
Staff/Rachel Gray
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MARIETTA — For the second time this year, residents of Marquis Place Apartments off Franklin Road were displaced after a fire gutted a building during a midnight blaze Monday morning.

More than 20 residents living in 11 units were evacuated from a building in the far back corner, next to a small wooded picnic area, right next to Interstate 75.

Lt. Jess Zerbe, an investigator with the Marietta Fire Department, said the fire started from a clothes dryer in the basement and traveled through the stairwell up two flights to the attic.

On Monday morning, black scorch marks could be seen on the light tan brick exterior walls and burned insulation had fallen from the walls onto the stairwell, which was also covered in black soot and debris.

Around the charred stairs were large holes where the tile floor had fallen from the second level down to the first story. Ceiling tiles were bubbled from the extreme heat.

Zerbe said the fire only consumed a corner of the front half of the number 19 building, destroying units I through L.

“The fire was held and checked right away,” Zerbe said.

The rest of the building was evacuated because of smoke damage, Zerbe said. He said it is more than likely all the tenants of that building will be displaced and will have to find another place to live.

On Monday morning, Vikki Randolph, a code enforcement officer with the city of Marietta, posted a condemnation sign near the entrance of the most affected units.

Red Cross support

A slightly burned orange party hat with a pink tassel lay on the porch of one unit leading to the front door.

Two couches had been thrown over the porch railing, lying on the ground in tattered ruins. All that remained of the burned furniture was the bright green stuffing and the steel frames.

Early Monday morning, the Marquis Place Apartments clubhouse was opened to get residents out of the cold, while the Red Cross surveyed the scene.

Carisa Hettich with the Atlanta Red Cross, the closest chapter for emergency response in Cobb County, said 21 people, including 17 adults and four children, were given food and lodging for two nights.

Six Red Cross volunteers were at the scene of the fire early Monday

morning, including Interim Disaster Capt. Dennis Scudder.

Scudder said the goal of Red Cross is to take care of the immediate needs of residents based on assessments of the damage to individual living units.

“There were some units that were totally destroyed … others had minimal amounts of damage,” Scudder said.

Scudder said he is an advocate of residents purchasing renters’ insurance.

“It makes a world of difference in how people respond to this type of situation,” Scudder said.

City purchased nearby complexes

Towards the front section of Marquis Place Apartments is another building gutted from a fire that engulfed the roof July 27, which caused heavy damage to 16 units.

On Monday morning, plywood boarded up the doorways and a chain-link fence sectioned off a construction zone to renovate the previously destroyed building.

Marquis Place Apartments, built in 1973, sits on 31 acres and was appraised in 2013 at just more than $10 million by the Cobb County Tax Assessors office. Atlanta-based Marquise Place LLC bought the complex in August 2011 for less than $5 million.

In November, Marietta voters approved a $68 million bond referendum, agreeing to raise property taxes so the city could redevelop Franklin Road. The city plans to purchase aging apartment complexes and market them to developers.

In mid-December, the city closed on two large apartment complexes less than half a mile from Marquis Place Apartments.

The city purchased the 386-unit Woodlands Park complex for $7.9 million and the 348-unit Flagstone Village Apartments for $12 million.

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