According to Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services public information officer Capt. Tommy Rutledge, the passerby noticed the fire, called 911 and banged on the door to alert the sleeping occupants. A second passerby also stopped to help.
"All occupants escaped and no injuries were reported," Rutledge said.
By the time firefighters arrived at 5:22 a.m., a large, semi-attached garage/workshop was fully involved in flames. Three vehicles parked in the garage and one parked nearby were also burning. The fire quickly spread to the second floor and attic of the house.
"The garage and four vehicles are a total loss due to the fire," Rutledge said. "The residential portion of the house sustained heavy fire damage to the attic and second floor."
The cause of the Jan. 8 fire has not yet been determined, but appears accidental.
"Firefighters did a tremendous job of stopping this fire before it involved the rest of the house," Rutledge added. "Challenges for fire crews included welding equipment and propane inside the garage. Water from the fire hoses formed sheets of ice on the roadway and driveway as crews worked in the bitter cold."
Three adults and one child were displaced as a result of the damage to the house and are being assisted by family and friends.
“We are fortunate that the passerbys were able to alert the family to the fire before it was too late,” Rutledge said. "Smoke alarms in the living space had not yet sounded and the family was asleep inside the house. They were unaware of the fire raging in the garage and spreading to the attic."
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