5 dead in Gwinnett County house fire

Five people are dead after a fire gutted a home in unincorporated Duluth early Sunday morning, possibly caused by a fire pit at the home.

Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Tommy Rutledge confirmed that five adults were found dead in the home in the 2200 block of Post Oak Drive NW, a two-story structure in the middle of a dead-end street near Old Peachtree Road. Remains of a dog and a cat also were removed from the home, Rutledge said.

A neighbor called 911 to report the fire around 3:30 a.m. Rutledge said firefighters had the blaze under control within an hour.

“They were not able to make entry due to the magnitude of that fire,” he said. “They had to battle the blaze initially from the outside of the structure.”

Fire investigators said the blaze likely began at the back deck. A neighbor said the fire pit there had been used late Saturday night.

Rutledge said recovery efforts initially were hampered by a partial collapse of both the first and second floors into a basement area. Once they were able to get in, investigators found three bodies. Relatives at the scene and neighbors told officials they believed five people were in the home.

Two more bodies were discovered Sunday afternoon as investigators were able to search the rest of the home.

No names had been released pending next-of-kin notification.

Rutledge said families should take precautions to prevent fires, from installing and maintaining smoke detectors to having fire escape plans in place.

“This tragic fire serves as an important reminder to make sure that your home and family are safe from fire,” he said.