70-year-old man dies in house fire

LAWRENCEVILLE - A 70-year-old Lawrenceville man died of smoke inhalation when his home burned early Sunday morning.

The body, identified Monday by the Gwinnett County medical examiner's office as Charles Allen, was found inside a bedroom in the house after firefighters put out the blaze.

Allen's wife and son were also in the house at the time of the fire and both were able to escape without serious injury, a Gwinnett County Fire Department press release said.

One of the home's occupants was awakened by a loud popping sound and discovered the fire, the press release said. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 2:54 a.m.

When firefighters arrived at the house, located at 133 Hurricane Shoals Road, it was completely ablaze. They could not immediately enter the house due to heavy fire and heat conditions.

The house was older and did not have any working smoke detectors inside, the press release said.

Firefighters said the cause of the fire is still unknown.

Janice Paschal, who owns the Family Hair Stop located in front of the Allen home, said she spoke with Charles Allen's son, Chuck, early Monday morning. Chuck Allen mentioned to her that he thought the fire was caused by rats eating through some electrical wires.

Paschal said Chuck Allen, who has been getting haircuts at Paschal's shop for a long time, came to her shop right after it had opened up to tell her what had happened.

"He came in and looked really, really upset," Paschal said.