SUWANEE - Felix Fernandez watched from the sidewalk Friday evening as firefighters put out hot spots deep in the rubble of what used to be the home he grew up in until he moved to Dacula last year.
The moment when he accepted the totality of the scene seemed to surface in a quiet, mournful wave.
"I keep seeing my movement inside the house," the 24-year-old said softly. "I keep seeing myself coming down the stairs eating breakfast or lunch, you know what I'm saying?
"It hurts right now."
Thirteen people, including Fernandez' mother - who owns the home and is in Peru - were displaced when fire tore through the two-story home and basement in the 3000 block of Arden Ridge Drive a little after 4:20 p.m. Friday, totally destroying the structure, Gwinnett Fire Department spokesman
Capt. Thomas Rutledge said.
Radiant heat from the original fire damaged two adjacent homes,
one extensively in a portion.
As of Friday evening, all residents were accounted for, Rutledge said. No one was injured.
Firefighters were met with several challenges upon arrival, Rutledge said.
Crews found heavy smoke and flames showing and fire already through the roof of the two-story wood frame house. Additionally, radiant heat from the original blaze threatened two adjacent residences.
An aerial ladder pipe was used to control the bulk of the main fire, while crews used hand lines and other devices to protect the two exposures, Rutledge said. One home sustained minor damage to its siding;
the other received extensive siding damage and minor damage to the basement.
Authorities believe the fire originated in the main home's kitchen, though the exact cause is still undetermined, Rutledge said. The fire does not appear to be suspicious.
The Red Cross was contacted to assist seven adults and six children who live in the
home where the fire originated.
A backhoe was called to the scene to assist firefighters with removing debris caused by the collapse of the structure, Rutledge said. Crews remained at the scene wetting down hot spots until 8:40 p.m.