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Downtown Buford fire ruled arson

BUFORD -- Investigators have ruled an early morning house fire Sunday near downtown Buford the act of an arsonist.

The 3:53 a.m. fire caused smoke and heat damage to an older, single-story home in the 400 block of West Garner Street, across a set of railroad tracks from Buford's downtown shopping and dining district.

Authorities are seeking information from the public, which could net tipsters up to $10,000.

Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said evidence found at the scene indicates the fire was intentionally set. He declined to elaborate.

"Authorities are not releasing specific information about the evidence found or the location of the fire inside the house" in light of the ongoing probe, he said.

Someone called 911 to report smoke coming from the home's front door and that the windows were hot to the touch, Rutledge said.

The house is not vacant, but nobody was home at the time, he said. No injuries were reported.

"There were vehicles in the driveway, but no one answered knocks at the door," he said.

Firefighters quickly tackled the flames, he said.

Georgia Arson Control Inc. offers standard rewards of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of arsonists.

Rutledge urged anyone with information to contact Gwinnett fire investigators at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Control Hotline at 1-800-282-5804.