Fire called arson
Blaze destroys home that was site of Tuesday robbery

NORCROSS - A Gwinnett County fire official said Wednesday that arson is to blame for an early morning fire that destroyed a home on the 2600 block of Bailey Drive.

The official also believes those responsible for igniting the blaze are the same culprits who tried to burn the home down on Tuesday when the residence was robbed of nearly $950 worth of electronics.

The home's occupants were out of town when the burglary and fire took place and no injuries were reported.

"At this time fire investigators believe both fires are related and that the same individual or individuals are responsible for setting the fires to hide an apparent burglary," Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. "Fire investigators were at the same address yesterday (Tuesday) and were called to the scene the first time by police officers, who found signs of an intentionally set fire while investigating a burglary complaint."

The turn of events began Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. when a family member watching the home arrived to find the back door of the residence open.

According to a police report, officers discovered the floor just inside the rear door was burned and also found material on the floor that had been burned as well.

Rutledge said that fire never took and only a fire investigator was dispatched to the scene.

Rutledge said firefighters returned to the scene at about 1 a.m. Wednesday after receiving a call from a neighbor. Upon arrival, they found the split-level wood frame house well involved in fire with a partial roof collapse. By the time firefighters got the fire under control at 1:40 a.m., the home had been destroyed and the exterior wall siding of a neighboring home had melted.

Rutledge said additional information about the case is not being released because it's an ongoing investigation. He asked anyone with information about the incident to call the Gwinnett Fire Arson and Explosives Section at 678-518-4890.

Georgia Arson Control offers a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the arson.