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Lilburn house fire deemed burglary cover-up

LILBURN -- A devastating Lilburn house fire is now believed to be set by burglars attempting to cover their tracks.

Gwinnett County fire spokesman Lt. Colin Rhoden said Friday's blaze on the 5200 block of Stafford Drive, which destroyed the two-story home, was in fact an act of arson and that investigators also believe that a robbery occurred at the home.

"The home's residents told investigators about specific items that were taken from the home," Rhoden said. "Three Hispanic or ethnic males were seen leaving the residence with some of its contents, just before the fire."

Investigators found "several point of fire origin" throughout the home. No arrests had been made on Wednesday.

Authorities believe the suspects fled the scene in a white, four-door sedan, Rhoden said. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gwinnett Fire Arson and Explosives Investigation Section at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Control Hotline at 1-800-282-5804.

The latter offers up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of arsonists.

Firefighters responded to the home at about 11:30 a.m. Friday, finding smoke and flames coming from the roof and the threat of collapse looming large. Crews had to protect neighboring homes due to high heat and flames and their proximity.

Severe damage was reported.

Rhoden said the fire department's investigators are leading the charge on all aspects of the case.

"Our fire investigators are police officers who have full jurisdiction on this incident and are in close relation to Gwinnett PD," he said.