Police: Dispute, fire may be related

LILBURN - Police said a Lilburn fire that left five people temporarily homeless Tuesday could be the work of an arsonist.

Family members who live nearby dispute that claim.

Firefighters responded to the Yellow Pine Drive home near Killian Hill Road about 11 p.m. and quickly extinguished a fire in an upstairs bedroom. No injuries were reported.

A half-hour earlier, Gwinnett police were called to investigate a verbal domestic dispute at the same address. Police arrested a female resident, Angela Haney, and charged her with obstructing law enforcement officers and damaging government property.

Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said there "does appear to be an indication" that the two incidents were related. A police report detailing the arrest was not available Wednesday, she said.

A Fire Department official said the cause is under investigation.

Dora Stainbrook, who lives next door, said the arrested woman is her daughter-in-law. Stainbrook claims Haney was drunk and belligerent enough to cause damage to a police car, but she had nothing to do with the fire, she said.

On Wednesday, an upstairs window of the split-level home was broken and family belongings lay charred in the yard.

"There was no arson to it," Stainbrook said. "It's heartbreaking."

The fire was contained to a single room and did not cause major damage, she said. Stainbrook's three grandchildren who live in the home were visiting her at the time, she said.

Capt. Thomas Rutledge, Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman, said investigators are questioning the home's occupants, who were not in the bedroom when the fire occurred.

"As of the moment, the fire is undetermined," Rutledge said. "We are looking at all the possibilities."

The Fire Department reported two other incidents in Gwinnett on Tuesday evening:

At least one cat died when fire struck a single-story home on Dolvin Lane in Buford about 8 p.m.

The fire appears to have started in a garage and spread throughout the home, causing heavy damage, Rutledge said.

The man who lives at the address was not home at the time. No other injuries were reported. The cause is under investigation, Rutledge said.

"One cat was found deceased inside the home," said Rutledge. "A second cat ran out before the fire department arrived and was captured by a neighbor."

A third cat was unaccounted for Wednesday, he said.

Several employees and patrons were evacuated from a Lawrenceville McDonald's restaurant at 1414 Pleasant Hill Road when a grease fire broke out in the kitchen. An employee handled the 7:19 p.m. blaze with a portable fire extinguisher.

No injuries were reported.