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FOUR OCCUPANTS INJURED DURING OVERNIGHT HOUSE FIRE

(Lawrenceville, Ga. December 6, 2017) – Four occupants of a home in the 3300 block of Stanford Circle, NW in (unincorporated) Lawrenceville were injured during a house fire Tuesday night, December 5, 2017.  Firefighters responded to the 9-1-1 call at 11:48 p.m.

When fire crews arrived at 11:52 p.m., they were immediately met by three injured occupants outside the structure and heavy smoke pouring from the front of the split-level, wood-frame house.  The homeowner advised that he was awakened after his wife smelled smoke and felt heat filling the second floor.  They were unable to go down the stairs due to fire and smoke conditions.  The man jumped from a rear bathroom window and retrieved an aluminum ladder in the yard to rescue his adult granddaughter and her infant daughter.  He was unable to get his wife out of the same bathroom window.

Initial fire crews worked fast to gain access to the trapped grandmother via a ground ladder; as a second crew forged their way upstairs to the bathroom.  The woman, who had been partially in the window when fire trucks arrived, was found semiconscious from breathing in the smoke and toxic gases.  She was removed by firefighters via the interior stairwell and was carried to a waiting ambulance.  The woman was in critical condition and was rushed by paramedics to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville.

The adult granddaughter and the infant were also taken to the hospital by ambulance for treatment of smoke inhalation.  The husband of the trapped victim was evaluated and released at the scene by paramedics for exposure to the bitter smoke.  Three dogs were also removed from the home by firefighters and appeared to be doing fine.  The dogs were being cared for by a neighbor. 

According to Fire Investigators, the blaze appears accidental and was sparked by an unattended lit candle in the front family room on the main-level of the home. The candle was part of a religious shrine and was left burning when the family went to bed.  The fire was quickly extinguished and was contained to the room of origin.  The blaze caused moderate damage in the family room and sent extensive smoke and heat throughout the rest of the house.  The only smoke alarm inside the home was found to be inoperable due to a missing battery.

“This fire is a prime example of why a burning candle should never be left unattended,” said Gwinnett Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge.  “We are hoping and praying for a complete recovery for the injured occupants and positive outcome,” Rutledge added.  Firefighters encourage residents to snuff-out candles when going to bed or when leaving the home.  Consider using flameless candles to reduce the risk of fire and unintentional injury.

Firefighters are urging all residents to install and maintain working smoke alarms inside the home, one on every level and in each of the bedrooms.  Develop a home fire escape plan and practice fire drills regularly.  Test smoke alarms monthly and make sure everyone can hear the beep.  Have a portable fire extinguisher close at hand and provide a collapsible fire escape ladder for upper floors.

For additional information on home fire safety, please contact the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction/Education Section at 678-518-4845 or e-mail fireprograms@gwinnettcounty.com.  The department offers free smoke alarm checks and home safety surveys as part of its community outreach programs.  

CANDLE SAFETY TIPS:

  • Never leave the room or go to sleep while candles are burning.
  • Keep candles a safe distance from anything that can catch on fire.
  • Use sturdy fire-resistant candle holders that won’t tip over easily and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets and away from high-traffic areas in the home.
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from ignitable liquids.          

EQUIPMENT AT THE SCENE INCLUDED: 5-Engines, 1-Ladder Truck, 1-Squad, 4-Medic Units, 1-Squad, 1-Air & Light Unit, 2-Battalion Chiefs, 1-District Commander, 2-Fire Investigators and 1-PIO  

Dropbox Video/Photo Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8e310fnhhj8x0de/GWINNETT%20FIRE%20PIO%20-%20Overnight%20House%20Fire%20with%20Occupants%20Injured%20-%20Stanford%20Circle%20in%20Lawrenceville%2012-05-17.mp4?dl=0 

Due to Federal Patient Privacy Laws known as HIPAA, the Fire-PIO is unable to identify the injured occupants or provide medical conditions.  


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