A Grayson family was left mourning the loss of one of its four-legged canine members, and unsure of what happened to another one, after a fire swept through and destroyed their home Wednesday afternoon.

Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Tommy Rutledge said firefighters responded at 4:32 p.m. to a call from passerby who reported the house fire on the 900 block of Cooper Road. Multiple callers to 911 reported flames coming from the house.

Fire officials said no one was home at the time of the fire, but two dogs were believed to be inside the house. One was found deceased and the other is unaccounted for, Rutledge said.

“Responding fire crews could see a heavy column of dark smoke from a distance as they approached the scene,” Rutledge said. “Firefighters arrived to find a large two-story, wood-frame house fully-involved.”

Fire attack and water supply hose lines were deployed by firefighters and positioned the first ladder truck to arrive on the scene was positioned for aerial operations, Rutledge said. The department spokesman explained that crews worked in a defensive mode because of the magnitude of the fire and the fact that the house had partially collapsed.

Flames were burning on both levels and in the attic, forcing firefighters to knock down the bulk of the fire from the exterior.

Rutledge said the area of origin is concentrated in the corner where the stove was located and cannot be ruled out as a potential cause by the investigator. The exact cause is undetermined and is under investigation.

“There was no one home at the time of the fire and no human injuries were reported,” Rutledge said. “The homeowner was contacted by a neighbor and reported to the scene as crews were battling the blaze.

“The woman stated that she left the house around 3:15 p.m. to pick up her children from school. She told the fire investigator that she had a warming fire in the wood burning stove on the back-right corner of the house.”

The home, and pretty much everything that had been inside it, is considered a total loss.

A tractor from Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources was requested by the incident commander to take down unstable walls in order to finish putting out the fire and render the structure safe.

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