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(Buford, Ga., Aug. 25, 2021) – At 2:43 a.m., firefighters responded to a neighbor’s report of a house fire located on the 100 block of Kennesaw Street NE in Buford. The caller to 9-1-1 believed that someone was in the basement and was not sure if she could get out.

When they arrived, crews found a working fire at a single-story residence on a basement with flames blowing out of the windows at the rear. Gwinnett County Police Officers were already on scene and passed on information confirming that an adult female was in the basement. Per the Incident Commander, crews placed three 1 ¾-inch attack lines in operation as they worked to darken down the blaze from the exterior. Access to the left side of the structure was severely prohibited due to a vehicle and trailer being in the driveway. Fire personnel transitioned into an offensive mode of operation and made entrance through the front door attempting to reach the rear of the house where the bulk of the flames were. Once they reached the center of the house, firefighters had to stop advancing because the floor system had collapsed into the basement. The adjacent stairs had been compromised as well. To prevent significant injuries or loss of life to personnel, firefighters had to cease rescue efforts and focus exclusively on extinguishing the flames. Due to the construction of the home, heat remained trapped inside creating the potential for reignition. Firefighters gained access to the roof and used a chainsaw to cut open ventilation holes to release that heat.

One adult female has been confirmed as deceased. The body was turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Due to Federal Patient Privacy Laws known as HIPPA, the Fire PIO is unable to release the name of the victim.  The name of the deceased victim will be disclosed by the Medical Examiner’s office once a positive identification is made and cause of death determined. There were five other individuals at home at the time of the fire. One adult female and four children were able to get out of the home without injuries. Although the cause of the fire is undetermined, the Fire Investigator cannot rule out multiple power sources. The fire did start in the basement.

This incident serves as a good reminder for families to establish good fire safety habits. Firefighters encourage everyone to install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Pull together everyone in the household and make a plan. Walk through the home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of the home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Practice this escape plan at least twice a year.


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