(Snellville, Ga., March 2, 2018) – Firefighters responded at 1:50 a.m., to an occupant report of a house fire in the 3200 block of Vail Court, SW in (unincorporated) Snellville.  The caller to 9-1-1 reported everyone out except for several pets (dogs and birds) that were still inside.

Crews arrived to find heavy fire and smoke showing from a split-level, wood-frame house.  Firefighters immediately deployed supply and attack hose lines to control the blaze and protect exposures.  Firefighters made entry to conduct a primary search and to extinguish the fire.  There was a partial collapse of the second floor and compromised structural integrity, which prevented firefighters from gaining access to several rooms within the home.  The bulk of the fire was brought under control by 3:01 a.m., and the scene was declared under control around 3:20 a.m.  Firefighters remained at the scene until 5:59 a.m. to douse hot spots and complete salvage and overhaul operations.

Per the Fire Investigator, the exact cause of the fire is undetermined and is under investigation.  The fire appears to have originated in a downstairs living room that was converted from a garage.  Crews were unable to dig out the origin room because of the structural compromise and magnitude of the damage. 

The occupants, a mother and father and two adult daughters were home asleep at the time when one of the daughters was awakened by the smoke.  She alerted her family and they attempted to gather several pets as they escaped the home.  An occupant was assessed at the scene by paramedics for exposure to smoke and was transported to the hospital for further evaluation. 

This fire serves as a reminder for all households to install and maintain working smoke alarms on every level of the home and in each of the bedrooms.  Practice fire safety by developing a home escape plan and conduct fire drills regularly.  Keep a portable fire extinguisher handy to douse a small fire and consider a collapsible fire escape ladder for upper floors.  Look for and eliminate home hazards that could cause a fire to start or grow in intensity.            

For additional information on home fire safety, please contact the Gwinnett Fire Community Risk Reduction/Education Section at 678.518.4845 or e-mail


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