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Basil Eleby

Three years after the I-85 fire, Basil Eleby is turning his life around

“I feel like a new person—a person that’s accomplished something,” Eleby told me afterwards. “I’ve never accomplished nothing, or graduated from anything.”
Basil Eleby, I-85 fire

The I-85 fire could have destroyed Basil Eleby’s life. Instead, it may have saved it.

When he was suspected of starting the fire that collapsed a portion of I-85 in Atlanta, Basil Eleby—a homeless man who grew up without a family and struggled with addiction—was facing felony charges that would put him in jail until he was in his sixties. But one year after the fire, Eleby is on the path to recovery, thanks to the help of the Atlanta community.

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