Local woman recovering after she says she ran towards apartment fire to help save tenants

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A missing roof, charred wood, and burnt debris are what’s left behind at the Sound at Peninsula apartment complex.

When the building was up in flames, Amanda Hope Atchison said she ran towards the fire to help before firefighters showed up.

“I just ran. I didn’t have any second thought about it,” she said. “We were banging and screaming for everybody to get out.”


At least 15 people are without a home. Atchison said she had to drag an elderly woman and a young girl out of their home.

“Their front door was engulfed in flames, I grabbed both of their hands and I took the dog first, threw it to whoever was there,” she said. “I grabbed them, one of them fell, they said they couldn’t walk, I said ‘I’m sorry I’m going to have to drag you’ I dragged them to the grass and soon as we reached the grass the balcony gave way.”

Atchison said she was in the swimming pool with her mother and partner at the time and ran over after they heard a loud boom noise. Her feet are wrapped up from what she said were second-to-third degree burns and blisters on her shoulders.

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“As I stepped on the concrete, it was like stepping on burning hot coal,” she said. “I stepped on the floor of their house; it was like stepping on lava. I felt like I could feel my skeleton.”

She credited her faith and her upbringing for her heroic efforts.

“I’d rather die trying to save somebody else than sit there and watch somebody else die,” she said.

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There have been conflicting reports from people who were at the complex on whether or not the smoke detectors and alarms were working. Action News Jax tried getting in touch with management and is waiting to hear back.

A JFRD spokesperson said the crews who worked the fire are currently off, so they won’t be able to get an answer just yet. When Action News Jax gets clarification, we’ll let you know.

There is a GoFundMe to help Atchison’s recovery efforts until she can get back on her feet.

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