Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The cold snap gripping metro Atlanta this week made tricky work for firefighters called to defeat three predawn blazes across central and southern Gwinnett.

Temps in the low 20s early Wednesday made ice cubes of some firefighting equipment and protective clothing. At one scene, authorities had to call in a Gwinnett Department of Transportation sand truck to cover ice patches born of water runoff used to fight the fire. Temps bottomed out well below the average low of 31 degrees, according to

In total, five people were forced from their homes into the frigid night.

"The cold temperatures posed a recognizable challenge, but did not hamper firefighters from doing their job," said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

No injuries were reported at any scene. Here's a rundown:

* Authorities believe a 1:14 a.m. fire in the 4400 block of Lilburn's Clock Court may have started in a kitchen, though an exact cause isn't known. A man living at the home told authorities he'd been sanding hardwoods floors and warming the home with a fireplace fire.

Rutledge said the fire was under control in 45 minutes, but only after causing heavy damage to the backside of the home. The man told authorities he planned to stay with a nearby relative.

* Three adults and a child were displaced when fire ravaged a Snellville home in the 3700 block of Warwick Way.

Smoke alarms alerted the family, who reported the fire at 5:14 a.m.

The home is a total loss, Rutledge said. The exact cause is under investigation but appears to have originated in the basement, he said. The American Red Cross is providing assistance to the family.

* Around 5:30 a.m., crews responded to a porch fire in the 300 block of Grayson-New Hope Road in Lawrenceville. The fire damaged an exterior wall and attic but was controlled in less than 30 minutes, Rutledge said.