Milton fire fighters battled three fires this past weekend, including one that left at least 40 families displaced.

Lightning is believed to have caused a three-alarm fire that broke out late last night in a Deerfield apartment building — displacing about 40 residents, ripping through a roof, but not leading to any fire-related injuries.

The Milton Fire-Rescue Department first learned about the fire in the IMT Deerfield apartment complex’s 17000 building around 10 p.m. Sunday, July 19, a short time after a strong storm rolled through the area. Residents reported a power surge around when the storm hit, in some cases knocking out AC systems.

Milton and Alpharetta firefighters responded to the fire on Deer Trail, which began in the 17000 building’s attic. With help from Milton Police and the Red Cross, they managed to get residents of the building’s approximately 30 units out safely and to temporary new places to stay.

Crews managed to contain the flames to the single building. While hotspots remained into Monday morning, the fire was essentially under control within an hour. Most of the roof and attic is gone, though the building otherwise still stands. Even so, the structure suffered major damage and is not currently habitable.

This was the third consecutive night of significant fires in Milton — an unprecedented yet entirely unrelated sequence of events. Milton Fire Marshal Alex Fortner is investigating all three incidents.

On Friday night, July 17, a suspected arson destroyed an abandoned, roughly 1,500-square foot house on Highway 9, across from the Crooked Creek neighborhood. A man was arrested the following morning for alleged arson, and he remains in law enforcement custody.

Then, around 1 a.m. Sunday, July 19, Milton and Alpharetta firefighters responded to a fire in the Avensong neighborhood. That fire claimed one house, though fire crews managed to prevent major damage to two adjacent ones. That incident’s official cause was undetermined as of Monday morning, though it does not appear to be suspicious.

Sunday night’s Deer Trail apartment fire on Sunday night is believed to have been the result of natural causes.

Milton residents already have reached out about helping those displaced in these recent fires. Avensong neighbors appear to have started a collection to help the displaced homeowner there. Sarah Hoffman with IMT Deerfield has offered to coordinate assistance for those impacted by the apartment building fire.

Hoffman can be reached at 770-99-06258 or In addition, residents can support the Red Cross, which responded promptly and effectively to Milton’s requests on Sunday night, and helps those displaced by fires.

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