The home was so badly damaged it was several hours before firefighters were able to enter the basement and recover the victim’s body.
The other two residents escaped with minor burns. Their names, and the identity of the man killed, have not been released.
Firefighters from both Gwinnett and DeKalb battled the blaze, which destroyed the home and threatened a nearby house. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
“There were access problems for firefighters trying to get all the way around this house simply because of the way it’s positioned,” Rutledge said. “This home drops down as you go to the back side toward the lake.”
Next-door neighbor Beverly Reed said the house that burned was “very, very close” to her home, the back deck just five feet or so from her carport.
“We have a little damage on the side of our house, some cracked windows, but of course, that’s minor compared to these people,” Reed said, adding that she is “very, very grateful” to firefighters who kept the fire from spreading to her home.
“They came and took action right away,” she said.
Reed said she was asleep when the fire broke out.
“I heard cracking and popping,” she said. “It was very, very scary.”