Family lights fire for warmth, accidentally sets Gwinnett home ablaze, officials say

The fire at the home in the 1700 block of River Crest Way appears to have started in a gas fireplace in the master bedroom, according to Gwinnett County fire officials.

The fire at the home in the 1700 block of River Crest Way appears to have started in a gas fireplace in the master bedroom, according to Gwinnett County fire officials.

A Gwinnett County family was trying to stay warm overnight when a fire in a bedroom fireplace began to spread through their home, fire officials said.

The fire at the home in the 1700 block of River Crest Way near Lawrenceville appears to have started in a gas fireplace in the master bedroom, Gwinnett fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. Temperatures dipped into the 20s in metro Atlanta early Tuesday morning, and Rutledge said the family went to bed with the fire still burning.

“An occupant reported hearing a noise earlier and thought it was raining outside,” he said. “They were later awakened by the smoke alarm sounding and a haze of smoke in the bedroom.”

The family of six, four adults and two children, had already made it out when fire crews arrived around 2:45 a.m. Tuesday. Flames were shooting through the attic of the two-story home.

When fire crews entered the home, they encountered thick smoke  and heavy flames in the attic space near the back left corner of the residence, according to Gwinnett County fire officials. 

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“Flames broke through the roof around the chimney stack, but left the majority of the roof intact,” Rutledge said. “Firefighters worked fast and were able to contain the fire to the attic and chimney chase.”

While the blaze was out quickly, there was heavy fire damage to the attic and extensive smoke and heat damage through the second floor, he said. Firefighters used plastic coverings to try to protect as many furnishings as possible while they worked.

The American Red Cross responded to provide assistance for the family. They stayed inside a neighbor’s house and waited out of the cold until the Red Cross arrived, Rutledge said.

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