The body of a woman in her 60’s was found inside a room where a fire broke out in a Lilburn-area town home Thursday night, Gwinnett County fire department officials have announced.

Capt. Tommy Rutledge said crews were called to the town home on Willow Gate Circle at 8:21 p.m. on a report of smoke and flames coming from the second floor of the town home, which was the center unit in a triplex building. Firefighters found heavy smoke and flames in an upstairs bedroom.

That is where they found the woman’s body. Rutledge said she was the only person in the town home. Officials declined to identify the woman, citing federal HIPAA patient privacy laws. The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office was expected to examine the woman’s body to determine a cause of death.

“The exact cause of the fire is currently undetermined and is under active investigation,” Rutledge said. “The blaze was contained to the upstairs bedroom on the front-left corner and caused heavy damage to the room and contents. There was extensive smoke and water damage throughout the townhome unit.”

Rutledge said the woman’s death is a reminder of why it is important for residents to practice fire safety in their homes, including developing a home fire escape plan, regularly practicing fire drills, identifying and eliminating hazards that could start a fire or make it grow rapidly and installing working smoke alarms on every level of a home and in each bedroom.

The fire department spokesman said residents can get additional information about fire safety programs that are available in Gwinnett by calling the Gwinnett Fire community Risk Reduction Division at 678-518-4845 or sending an email to

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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