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Fire ruled arson; $10,000 offered for information

TUCKER -- Gwinnett fire investigators have ruled that a Monday night fire that charred a Tucker business was intentionally set and likely the work of a burglar.

Georgia Arson Control Inc. is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the blaze.

The 10:53 p.m. fire destroyed a Pounds Drive business called the Stone Center of Georgia, a single-story house converted for commercial use. A passerby had reported flames issuing from the building.

Thirty-five firefighters attacked the blaze for nearly an hour before rendering it under control, Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said.

Police had responded to a burglar alarm at the business moments before the Fire Department was alerted, Rutledge said. By Tuesday evening, fire investigators had found evidence to indicate the fire was an act of arson.

Fire officials did not say exactly what they uncovered among the ashes, citing an ongoing investigation.

The business, which was closed, sits behind Pike Nursery on U.S. Highway 29 near the Gwinnett-DeKalb county line. No one was there when firefighters arrived and no injuries were reported, Rutledge said. The structure is a total loss.

Officials urge anyone with information to contact Gwinnett fire investigators at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Control Hot Line at 800-282-5804.