Buford home destroyed after blaze spreads from fireplace

BUFORD -- A Buford home sustained heavy damage from a Wednesday night blaze believed to have spread from the fireplace.

Gwinnett County firefighters responded to the home on the 4200 block of Autumn Lake Drive at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, finding "heavy fire involvement on the left side and in the attic," spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. Crews were able to bring the blaze under control within 20 minutes or so, but not before the two-story house sustained heavy damaged to the second floor and attic.

The occupants, five adults and three children who escaped unharmed after being alerted by a neighbor, were reportedly burning a fire in the fireplace "during much of the evening," Rutledge said.

The blaze was ruled accidental and is believed to have started from that fireplace.

"Firefighters suggest having all home heating appliances checked annually by a qualified technician," Rutledge said. "Undetected cracks in the fireplace box or chimney chase are potential avenues for a fire to start or spread rapidly."