Although there is a fire station about 1.5 miles away from a mobile home fire that claimed the lives of two toddlers Monday, it took Lumpkin County fire 14 minutes to get to the blaze, officials said.
The fire, which occurred about 4:15 p.m. on Rider Road Spur in Dawsonville, killed 2-year-old Noah Gaydon and 1-year-old Kaylee Gaydon.
Two firefighters called out sick and couldn’t report for duty on Monday, the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners said in a statement.
“Our Emergency Services team members function as both fire fighters and EMTs or Paramedics,” the release said. “In order to fully staff our three ambulances a decision was made by command staff to move the fire fighter/paramedic normally assigned to Station Five (Mill Creek) to Station Four.”
The local fire marshal told Channel 2 Action News the Lumpkin fire department, which only employs 11 people, was working a chicken house fire across the county.
Hall County assisted with the blaze the State Insurance and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens later ruled undetermined.
“This fire originated on the front porch and burned into the interior of the home,” he said Tuesday. “Investigators could not rule out careless smoking as the possible cause.”
However, Hudgens said the blaze doesn’t appear suspicious.
The deaths of Noah and Kaylee brought the number of fire-related deaths in Georgia this year to 50, said Glenn Allen, a spokesman for Hudgens’ office.
The victims’ mother, Sarah Gaydon, was outside the home at the time of the fire. Their father, Jonathan Gaydon, and another sibling were not home, Allen said.
Lumpkin County is about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta.
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