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Man found dead at Duluth apartment complex April 19, 2014

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Fire destroys couple's home
Early morning blaze guts Lilburn house right before holidays

LILBURN - An evergreen wreath on a stone garage door frame was all that was left of a home on Valley Park Drive on Thursday after a devastating early morning fire.

Firefighters arrived at the Lilburn home soon after residents alerted 911, but were unable to save the residents' house.

The couple woke shortly before 4:30 a.m. to the sounds of a fire crackling, discovering flames burning on their back deck.

Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said the pair evacuated. The flames were quickly spreading to both the attic and basement.

Though fire crews arrived and rushed to quell the flames, Rutledge said the intense blaze and a collapsing main floor pushed firefighters out, forcing them to douse the flames from outside the home.

Firefighters had the blaze out shortly before 6 a.m. and stayed on the scene wetting down hot spots well into the morning.

Rutledge said the couple was lucky to have escaped the home unharmed. Though smoke detectors were present, Rutledge said the alarms had not sounded before the pair was alerted to the flames that were quickly spreading.

The American Red Cross was called to assist the couple, whose home was completely destroyed.