Neighbors get trapped on 2nd floor after complex removes stairs

DEKALB CO., GA (WCMH) — Firefighters rescued several people trapped on the second floor of an apartment building Monday after the apartment complex removed the stairs–the only way in and out of several homes.

Residents in the Georgia complex say they woke up to find crews removing the stairs, and found a notice on the door saying they would have no access to them until Thursday.

“You can’t lock everybody up up here, we feel trapped!” said resident Shawnta Tiller. “There could be a fire, how are we supposed to get down?”

“This is crazy- how can you cut off access to the stairs and everybody’s in their apartments?” asked resident Andre Williams.

Management didn’t answer the door or a call from CNN affiliate WSB. Even the fire marshal couldn’t get in touch with them.

But they did warn residents last week to vacate while they fixed the shaky stairs that partially collapsed during Memorial Day weekend.

“It just collapsed,” Tiller said. “I slammed up against the wall, I hit my arm on the other side. Just horrible.”

County Fire Marshal Joseph Cox said residents should have called for help right away. Firefighters brought in a ladder to rescue the trapped residents.

“It’s better to be proactive, before an emergency takes place, as (in) this case- then wait until a tragedy occurs because it certainly is not worth it,” he said. “One phone call and it will be addressed.”

The fire marshal said the complex could get cited for code violations. The repair crew plans to be back Tuesday to finish the job. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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