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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — A family is recovering after taking desperate measures to escape an apartment fire at the Azalea Park apartment complex.

The mother, Raven Hines, had to toss two of her children over a balcony down to neighbors willing to catch them.

The fire started around 4 p.m. Friday.

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“I saw the smoke and I knew the fire was close. I remember seeing the ceiling melting but I don’t remember smelling the smoke or feeling the fire,” said Hines.

When Hines opened her apartment door, she couldn’t see the staircase — so she knew jumping over the balcony was the only way out.

Neighbors down below said they’d catch the children, so she grabbed her 1-year-old son, put him over the railing and dropped him.

“He was looking up at me like why did you just do this? Why? He held onto his bottle tight the whole way down,” said Hines.

She grabbed her 10-year-old daughter, Aliyah, next.

“I was like, I don’t want to go down there,” said Aliyah.

“I don’t remember doing this, but she said I picked her up over the balcony and threw her,” said Hines.

Mom jumped next. The fall fractured her leg and left her with a huge gash on her forehead.

She’s thankful that her family survived and thankful that the fire was in the daylight hours instead of after dark.

“Many people would’ve died if that had happened. If it was at night, no one would’ve been up to smell the smoke,” said Hines.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account, if you would like to donate to their recovery effort.

Tyisha Fernandes, WSBTV.com |