Family of four loses home to fire

LAWRENCEVILLE - Firefighters responded to a Lawrenceville house fire Wednesday after a passing driver noticed smoke rising from the home.

Responding crews were able to extinguish the heavy smoke and flames coming from the front side of the single-story home at 530 Avalon Forest Drive.

The owners were not home at the time, and no injuries were reported.

The American Red Cross was contacted to provide help for the two adults and two children who will not be able to return to the home because of the damage.

Firefighters are unsure what caused the fire.

Lilburn house fire under investigation

LILBURN - Firefighters continue to investigate the cause of a Lilburn house fire that began Wednesday afternoon.

Lt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department, said flames were coming from the windows and roof of the two-story, wood-frame home when crews arrived.

"There was heavy damage to the structure," Rutledge said.

He added there were no injuries reported, and the woman who owned the home was not at the 4059 Hampshire Court residence when the fire started.

Rutledge said the American Red Cross was not notified, neighbors and coworkers were going to provide assistance for the woman.


Fire department receives grant to help with children's programs

WINDER - The Barrow County Fire and Emergency Services was recently awarded a $2,940.64 grant that will help educate and comfort children involved in a fire.

The Brant Chesney Grant, awarded annually by the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, allowed BCFES to purchase four fire safety videos, a "Sparky" Dalmatian costume and a DVD/VCR player. Those tools will be used in the Children After the Fire program, which provides counseling to children involved in a fire, and the Juvenile Firesetter program, a class that teaches fire prevention to juveniles who have caused a fire.

Brant Chesney was a Gwinnett County firefighter who also served as volunteer firefighter and training instructor with the Forsyth County Fire Department. Chesney died fighting a Forsyth County apartment fire Dec. 27, 1996.

Fire department personnel honored

WINDER - Barrow County Fire and Emergency Services honored its employees, volunteers and patrons at the fourth annual awards ceremony Nov. 16. The dinner and event was held at Bethlehem First Baptist Church.

Chief Mitch Kitchens presented awards to the following:

• Dispatcher of the Year - Sharon Jones, communications supervisor. Jones has been with the department since it was formed in 1991. She is married to Barrow County Detention Officer Greg Jones.

• Rookie of the Year - Jaron Queen, firefighter and member of BCFES' first rookie class.

• T. J. Snow Award - Laurie Kaulbach, volunteer firefighter of the year. She has been with the department since 2001.

• Firefighter of the Year - Landon Wilder, firefighter and three-year employee.

• Paramedic of the Year - Andrew Dykes, fire medic, Community Emergency Response Team instructor and program coordinator.

• Officer of the Year - Lt. Bryan Bullock, a nine-year employee.

• Eddie Elder Award - Chaplain Mike Peavy and The Tree House.

• Outstanding Service Award - Lt. Scott Dakin, public information officer, for his hundreds of hours of volunteer work over the past 12 months.

- From staff reports