A man died at a local hospital Friday afternoon after Gwinnett firefighters pulled him from a blaze that destroyed one home and damaged another.
The man, who has not yet been publicly identified, was rescued through a basement window, Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Tommy Rutledge said. He suffered “very serious” injuries, which he later succumbed to.
According to Rutledge, firefighters were dispatched to the homes, located on Rockmill Court in Lawrenceville, just before 1:30 p.m. after receiving a 911 call about a “really big fire.”
“Firefighters could see a thick column of smoke as they responded from a distance, so they already knew they had a working fire,” Rutledge said. “There were reports of a person trapped inside. When they arrived on scene, they found a split-level house with heavy fire involvement.”
That home, one side of which was completely destroyed, is a total loss. An adjacent home also suffered damage, though is still livable, Rutledge said.
“The house on the left side of (the home where the fire started) has damage to the wall; there’s significant charring to the exterior wood siding,” Rutledge said. “It was a very intense fire — not only was there collapse of the original house ... but (the fire) ignited the neighboring house.”
Firefighters have not yet determined how many people were displaced due to the blaze. Eleven people — eight children and three adults — were home when the fire started, though Rutledge said. No other injuries were reported.
Firefighters also reported no injuries, despite temperatures reaching into the mid-90s.
Fire investigators are currently working to determine the cause of the blaze; Rutledge said Friday afternoon that one was at the hospital while another was on scene.
“Once the fire is completely out, that investigator will be able to go in and look around in the areas of the home that are able to be (examined),” Rutledge said. “There are some (areas) that, due to collapse, we’ve not even been able to search at this point.”
Tow trucks took away the cars that were damaged in the fire, while a tractor was also requested to help tear apart some of the home that was destroyed.
Rutledge said more information will be released as it becomes available.