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Fireplace blamed in destructive Lawrenceville house fire

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A family of six escaped a house fire in the 1800 block of Wildcat Creek Court in Lawrenceville on Sunday morning that's been linked to the home's fireplace, officials said.

A neighbor passing by reported flames shooting from the home's chimney about 10:20 a.m. The family inside -- three adults and three children -- fled the home unharmed, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

The blaze caused extensive damage to the two-story home's attic and roof and partially extended to the second floor.

"The fire appears to have originated from the fireplace and spread from the chimney chase to the attic," Rutledge said.

Investigators believe the fire was accidental.

In light of the Sunday incident, Rutledge issued a reminder that cold weather months bring an increase in residential fires caused by home-heating sources, such as fireplaces and space heaters.

Firefighters suggest having fireplaces and heating appliances checked annually by a qualified technician.

"Now is the time to service home heating sources and to check the batteries in the smoke alarms," said Rutledge.

For more information on home fire safety, Rutledge urged residents to contact the Gwinnett Fire Education Section at 678-518-4850 or via e-mail at fireprograms@gwinnettcounty.com.

Family displaced by Stone Mountain blaze

STONE MOUNTAIN -- A Sunday night fire in the 4900 block of Wycliffe Drive in Stone Mountain displaced a family, officials said.

Fire crews arrived at the two-story home at 7:50 p.m. and controlled the fire in about 20 minutes. Three people inside at the time escaped unharmed, Rutledge said.

The fire appears to have originated in an area where electrical service enters the house, but the exact cause is undetermined, Rutledge said.

The fire cause moderate damage to an exterior wall and filled the home with smoke. A family who lives at the home was displaced but declined Red Cross assistance, Rutledge said.