MALTBIE STREET DUPLEX FIRE SPARKED BY TREE FALLING ON POWER LINES

(Lawrenceville, Ga., June 20, 2021) – Firefighters responded at 9:25 a.m. to a passerby’s report of a structure fire near the intersection of Maltbie Street NW and N Perry Street NW in the city of Lawrenceville. The 911 caller advised it was the third building on the right coming from N Perry Street. The caller reported smoke and flames visible with vehicles in the driveway. The passerby was unsure if anyone was home.

Crews arrived on scene in the 100 block of Maltbie Street NW and found heavy fire through the roof of a single-story duplex. Firefighters immediately checked to see if anyone was home and located an adult female that came to the door in the unit on the left side of the building. A walkaround was completed while fire attack hose lines were rapidly deployed to the front door. A tree and power line in the rear of the duplex were found down, prompting notification to all crew members of the electrical hazard. Upon entry through a window in the unit on the right side, firefighters located fire in the rear of the structure and heavy involvement throughout the attic space. A positive water supply was quickly obtained from a fire hydrant in the front yard. Additional crews arriving at the scene deployed two additional hose lines to bring the fire under control in approximately 10 minutes. Crews completed primary and secondary searches and established a rapid intervention crew in the front yard. Lawrenceville utilities arrived at the scene to secure the power and gas to the structure. The building sustained heavy fire damage throughout the attic space with water damage throughout the rest of the building. No injuries were reported at the scene.

The fire originated in the attic near the area where the power supply comes into the home. The fire appears to have occurred secondary to the tree falling across the power lines in the backyard, disrupting power to the duplex. The tree likely fell last night as the effects of Tropical Depression Claudette moved through the area. A fire investigator was informed of the suspected origin and cause of the fire.

According to the occupant of the unit on the left side, she stated the power went out sometime late last night during the storms. This morning, she had her window open in her bedroom and smelled smoke but attributed the smell to someone possibly grilling. It wasn’t until firefighters banged on the door that she was alerted to the blaze in the attic. A smoke alarm was located in her unit that was installed by Gwinnett County firefighters in 2015. Due to the location of the smoke and flames in the attic, the alarm did not activate. The occupant of the unit on the right was not home at the time of the fire and returned home after being notified by neighbors. Both adults were displaced due to the damage and requested temporary assistance from the American Red Cross. The duplex is owned and operated by the Lawrenceville Housing Authority who was notified and sent a representative to the scene.

Firefighters encourage all citizens to practice home fire safety. Be sure to install working smoke alarms on every level of the home and in each bedroom. Develop a home escape plan and practice fire drills regularly. For additional information on home fire safety, please contact the Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services’ Community Risk Reduction Division at 678-518-4845 or email fireprograms@gwinnettcounty.com.  

Equipment at the scene included: 3-Engines, 2-Ladder Trucks, 1-Squad, 1-Air/Light Unit, 1-Medic Unit, 1-Medical Supervisor, 2-Battalion Chiefs, 1-District Commander and 1-PIO

Note: Pictures of the incident can be located on Facebook and Twitter @GwinnettFire.

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