Weekend fires displace families

LAWRENCEVILLE - During the last days of 2007, three house fires displaced three Gwinnett County families from their homes.

A dry Christmas tree caught on fire at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday in the living room of a single-story home at 2581 Doc Hughes Road in Buford, said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

The fire started accidentally in the live, lit Christmas tree, Rutledge said. The married couple tried to put out the fire, but the tree burned quickly and ignited other contents in the room, he said.

The couple was not injured and escaped out of a bedroom window, Rutledge said. The fire caused heavy damage to the living room, where it was contained, but the blaze sent smoke and heat throughout the rest of the home.

The family told firefighters they were planning to stay with nearby relatives, Rutledge said.

Earlier that day in Norcross, firefighters had to force their way into a home after being dispatched at 5:38 p.m. to a report of an active fire alarm, Rutledge said. Crews found the front door was hot, and there were signs of smoke inside.

Firefighters found a small fire burning in the living room of the double-wide mobile home at 4498 Buford Highway, Rutledge said. The blaze was contained to the living room, but smoke was sent throughout the structure.

The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation, Rutledge said.

The occupants of the home did not request assistance, he said.

On Sunday afternoon, residents of a Grayson neighborhood called 911 to report smoke coming from a house at 3095 Haynes Club Circle. When firefighters arrived at about 4:30 p.m., they found moderate smoke showing from the single-story house.

No one was home, and crews had to force entry, Rutledge said. The fire was contained to the kitchen, where the blaze appeared to have accidentally started.

The flames caused extensive damage to the kitchen and sent thick smoke throughout the structure.

A married couple was displaced, but they did not request assistance.