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Fires ruled arson
Two blazes set at home on same day

SNELLVILLE - Fire investigators said Saturday that arson is to blame for two separate blazes set hours apart of each other Friday night at the same Oak Road home.

Capt. Tommy Rutledge of Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services said nobody was home at the time of the first fire when crews arrived on the scene about 6:30 p.m. He said a passing motorist called 911 because smoke was coming from the 1512 Oak Road house.

"The fire was contained to two rooms and sent smoke and heat throughout the structure," Rutledge said. "Firefighters overhauled the debris and wet down both rooms before leaving the scene."

That was just after 9 p.m. Nearly one hour later, firefighters took a second call. But instead of seeing smoke this time, a passing motorist who phoned 911 said flames were coming out of the house's windows.

"The house was engulfed in flames when the fire department arrived for the second time," Rutledge said. "Flames were shooting through the roof."

That roof eventually collapsed and the result of that second fire completely destroyed the home, he said.

Rutledge also said nobody was home at the time of the second inferno either, and that fire officials were trying to notify the home's owners or former occupants. He added that no power, water or gas utilities were turned on at the house, but said it definitely appeared as if the home was being lived in.

"We believe that the two fires were intentionally set," he said. "The fire was completely put out when we left the first time and it's certainly unusual to get a call for two fires at the same house."

Rutledge said the investigation is still active and asked that anyone with knowledge of the home's owners or occupants or information pertaining to the fires contact the Gwinnett Fire Arson and Explosives section at 678-518-4890. Georgia Arson Control offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people responsible for arson.