More than 180 residents had their homes damaged or destroyed in a major fire Aug. 19 at Buckhead’s Avana on Main apartments.

Firefighters use a ladder truck to battle the Aug. 19 fire at the Avana on Main apartments. (© Joshua Crowder. 2020.)

The fire was discovered shortly before 1 p.m. at 517 Main St., part of the Avana complex next to the Lindbergh Center MARTA Station. Firefighters from three stations responded as the blaze spread through the attic of the four-story building and eventually caused a partial building collapse, according to the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. AFRD did not immediately respond to questions about the cause of the fire and its damages.

Concerned residents wait while firefighters battle the blaze. (© Joshua Crowder. 2020.)

Joshua Crowder, a photojournalist at SCAD Atlanta whose images of the blaze appear with this story, lives near the apartment complex. He went to the fire scene around 1 p.m.

Firefighters walk down Main Street as the complex continues to burn. (© Joshua Crowder. 2020.)

“The fire seemed to spread from the middle [of the building],” Crowder said. “There were firefighters stationed in the parking garage just west of the point of origin to stop the spread that way, but by 1:20 p.m., the fire had already spread to the southwest corner of the building. The residents and neighbors were lined up across the street in worry about what the next steps are.”

A firefighter kneels while working water hoses on the smoke-filled street. (© Joshua Crowder. 2020.)

The fire was under control around 2:30 p.m., Crowder estimated.

A firefighter scales a ladder while water is directed onto the blaze. (© Joshua Crowder. 2020.)

The American Red Cross of Georgia had about 40 Disaster Action Team volunteers and staff members offering assistance both in-person and virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to spokesperson Sherry Nicholson. Passion City Church on Garson Drive offered its site for Red Cross relief services.

Flames leap from the roof of the complex. (© Joshua Crowder. 2020.)

The Red Cross assisted 182 residents from 104 households, according to Nicholson. That included assistance with temporary lodging, food, clothing, personal care items and such health services as replacements for lost prescription medicines. Case workers will continue to assist the residents. Any affected resident who has not yet received help can contact the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.

Firefighters prepare to battle the blaze. (© Joshua Crowder. 2020.)

The best way for others to help those affected by the fire and other disasters is to donate money to the Red Cross to support its free services, according to Nicholson. For more information, people can call the same 1-800-733-2767 as those seeking assistance, or see

Firefighters direct water from a hose onto the fire. (© Joshua Crowder. 2020.)

Photos by Joshua Crowder.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.