Friday morning at 10:44 am Bulloch County 911 dispatched the Statesboro and Bulloch County Fire Departments to an apartment fire at Southern Downs Apartments, 710 Georgia Avenue. This was firefighters second fire call Friday morning.

SFD was diptathced to a grease fire at the Renaissance apartments at 1818 Chandler road at 9:48 am. The fire was out when firefighters arrived. They reported minor damage to the apartment. The resident suffered minor burns to their hands at that fire.

Initial fire department engines arriving on the scene at Southern Downs reported heavy smoke coming from an upstairs apartment and requested additional assistance.

The fire is believed to have began in the kitchen area. The resident and one of two dogs were able to escape without injury. One of the owners dogs died as a result of the fire.

Statesboro Police and Statesboro Fire evacuated the entire building as a precaution. The Statesboro Fire Department will conduct a routine cause and origin investigation to determine the exact cause of the fire.

SFD confirmed that the resident would be placed in another available apartment on-site temporarily by the Southern Downs property management team.

Statesboro and Bulloch County firefighters were able to contain the fire to one apartment. No other residents will be displaced.

Southern Downs Property Management Responded to Assist Displaced Resident

It was very good to see Southern Downs management respond so quickly to assist the residents. Recently we experienced a similar situation in a Friday evening fire at 111 South Apartments on Rucker Lane. 111 South Management responded and quickly worked to place the 12 apartments and 26 residents affected by the fire in temporary housing on site, at sister properties and local hotels.

This is a much different response by apartment management than the 63 residents of the 20 apartments damaged by fire at Little Lotts Creek. Bulloch VOAD worked with partner agencies include the American Red Cross and raised nearly thirty thousand dollars to assist these victims. The owners of Little Lotts Creek provided no assistance to the residents, other than refunding their deposits.

Multiple attempts to reach the ownership by city officials and the media were not successful.

Southern Downs Residents Report Improvements

An off duty, SPD officer, which is one of three SPD officers who live in the Southern Downs complex, praised the management teams rapid response and commitment to assist the resident who was impacted.

Since living there the officer commented that this management team has done a tremendous job in working to make improvements to the complex and create a safe and hospitable environment for the residents. They are working with the police department to install a complex wide camera system, which will help deter crime even more.

Immediately after praising them, a member of the team asked for all media to vacate the location per a request from the property owners.

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...