A fireplace is believed to be the cause of a Feb. 20 house fire in Buford that displaced a family of eight.
Fire crews were dispatched to a home in the 4200 block of Autumn Lake Drive at 9:28 p.m. after a neighbor reported a fire.
"On arrival, crews found heavy fire involvement on the left side and in the attic of a two-story wood frame house over a full basement," said Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services public information officer Capt. Tommy Rutledge in a media release.
Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control within 20 minutes of arriving at the scene. According to Rutledge, the blaze caused heavy damage to the second floor and attic and sent smoke and heat throughout the home. A neighboring home was not damaged despite threatening flames and radiant heat.
"The blaze appears accidental and originated from a fire burning in the fireplace," Rutledge indicated. "The occupants were reportedly burning a fire in the fireplace during much of the evening and were inside the home at the time of the fire."
A neighbor alerted the family to the fire. One of the occupants unsuccessfully tried to extinguish the flames with a garden hose prior to the arrival of fire crews.
The Red Cross was contacted to assist the five adults and three children who lived in the home.
Fire officials remind citizens to have home heating appliances, including fireplaces, checked annually by a qualified technician. Fires can spread into a structure through undetected cracks in a fireplace box or chimney case. Firefighters also suggest installing smoke alarms on every level of the home and developing a home fire escape plan.
For additional information on home fire safety, contact the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction Division at 678-518-4845 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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