Investigators returned Thursday at a Tucker home where a woman and her two daughters died in a fire. But the Gwinnett County fire department said investigators routinely return to the site of fatal fires.
“The purpose of today’s visit is to further explore the scene to try and understand what may have taken place inside the home in the moments leading up to, during, and immediately after the fire,” Capt. Tommy Rutledge said.
On Feb. 9, Kathy Patterson and daughters, Madelyn, 9, and Kayla, who turned 12 in January, died when flames ripped through the family’s home on Pointer Ridge. Brent Patterson made it out of the house, but was unable to return for his wife and daughters.
The day after the fire, Patterson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was the only one downstairs when he heard an odd noise and went to check it out.
“When I opened the front door, the house exploded,” Patterson said.
Patterson doesn’t remember hearing the smoke alarm buzzing upstairs, where his family was. But he yelled for them to get out. With a neighbor’s help, Patterson broke the glass on a back door, but the heat and flames were too intense.
“I couldn’t get back in,” Patterson said. “It was gone.”
Though the official cause had not been determined late Thursday, investigators believe the blaze started in a first-floor living room, in the area of an electric-powered reclining couch, Rutledge previously said. Members of the Gwinnett police department on district attorney’s office were at the home Thursday assisting with the investigation.
On Saturday, firefighters will partner with the American Red Cross and community volunteers to check smoke alarms in the neighborhood.