Flames lit up the predawn sky in north Fulton County Friday as a large fire destroyed a medical office building in Alpharetta. No injuries were reported in the blaze, which broke out before 4 a.m. Friday in the 12000 block of Crabapple Road near Arnold Mill Road.
Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Alpharetta medical building destroyed by predawn blaze

Flames lit up the predawn sky in north Fulton County Friday as a large fire destroyed a medical office building in Alpharetta.

No injuries were reported in the blaze, which broke out in the Coventry Professional Building in the 12000 block of Crabapple Road near Arnold Mill Road. The two-story, brick building houses several medical and dental offices, including the Roswell Pediatric Center.

“We really can’t tell what all businesses were in there, because they are simply gone,” said George Gordon, spokesman for the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety.

A witness called 911 about 3:30 a.m., reporting that flames were coming from the building, he said.

“The city of Milton had the nearest fire station, so they responded very quickly and immediately realized they had a significant large structure fire,” Gordon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “At that point, they requested additional alarms be sounded.”

The Alpharetta Fire Department “responded en masse shortly thereafter,” he said. A total of 25 firefighters from Milton and Alpharetta worked in tandem to put out the blaze.

“The key here was the cities of Milton and Alpharetta have erased jurisdictional boundaries,” Gordon said.

Flames that had leaped as high as 50 to 100 feet into the night air had been knocked down by 5 a.m., as firefighters continued to pour water on the building, which sits just behind the landmark red and tan silos in the Crabapple community.

“We have a roof collapse,” he said. “They are shoring up the four walls to make sure they are structurally sound, and are putting out hot spots throughout the building before the fire marshals can get in to begin their investigation.”

Laurie Viebrock is the practice administrator at Roswell Pediatric Center. She had high praise for firefighters who were able to salvage vaccines from the blaze.

“We had a couple of refrigerators full of childhood vaccines that the firemen went in and retrieved for us and put the refrigerators on generators to keep temperatures stable,” Viebrock said, calling the extra effort by firefighters “very important.”

“Pediatrics is keeping kids healthy, and vaccines are a part of it,” she said. “It was really nice to be able to get them and transfer them to other offices.”

The pediatric center, which has two other area offices, keeps its records electronically, according to Viebrock.

“If we didn’t have an electronic health record system, you’d have probably 30,000 patient records in there to try and figure out,” she said. “So yeah, I’m a big believer at this moment in electronic health records.”

She said other staff members were already working Friday morning to contact patients and “let people know what’s happened and get them seen at one of the other offices.”

“It doesn’t look like this building is going to be salvageable at all,” Viebrock said. “People have worked here for 10, 15, 20 years, and it’s a home, so it’s sad. It’s very sad.”