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Resident burned, pets killed in Snellville house fire

SNELLVILLE — A Snellville resident was burned and taken to the hospital Tuesday morning after a gas fireplace malfunctioned, officials said. Their home suffered significant damage and the blaze claimed the lives of three family pets.

Gwinnett County firefighters responded to the 4200 block of Wellington Hills Lane in unincorporated Snellville at about 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, finding heavy fire conditions across much of the structure.

“Initial reports stated that one of the residents were in the lower level of the split-level home operating a natural gas fed fireplace,” fire department spokesman Lt. Colin Rhoden said. “The resident stated that there was a malfunction which ignited the natural gas.”

Both residents home at the time were able to escape, but the individual closest to the ignition was taken to the hospital in stable condition, Rhoden said.

Fire crews brought the blaze under control within about 30 minutes, but not before the home sustained heavy smoke and fire damage. Three pet birds were killed.

“Atlanta Gas Light was called to the scene to control an underground gas line that ruptured and (was leaking) natural gas through the ground,” Rhoden said.

The exact cause of the fire was undetermined and under investigation.