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Family's cat killed in Buford house fire

Fire officials said it took nearly two hours to put out the blaze. They said they were hampered by construction and renovations to the 1930s-era home.
Credit: Gwinnett FD
Firefighters battle a fire in Buford early on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.

BUFORD, Ga. — A family's cat perished after a fire that destroyed a house in the city of Buford early Saturday morning, Gwinnett fire officials said.

Firefighters responded at about 4:20 a.m. to the home in the 900 block of West Shadburn Avenue after receiving a report from a neighbor, according to Lt. Justin Wilson of Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services.

The 911 caller indicated that the home was near the railroad tracks and that the entire front of the house was on fire, Wilson said.

Gwinnett County Police arrived first, he said, and confirmed the report of the severity of the blaze.

When fire crews arrived, they found heavy fire covering the front of the single-story home, he said. 

As firefighters conducted a walk-around of the structure, Wilson said, attack hoses were deployed for a transitional attack of the blaze.

He said the bulk of the flames were knocked down as additional crews were able to move through the rear of the home to keep the fire in check while a complete check of the structure took place.

As crews were working to look for victims inside the home, family members arrived and told crews that there were no occupants inside, Wilson said. 

During their search, fire crews found a cat inside and removed it, he said.

Once outside, the crew attempted to revive the cat with a pet oxygen mask, but were unsuccessful, Wilson said.

He said the fire continued to progress through false ceilings and void spaces in the home. 

According to Wilson, firefighters were hampered by the construction and renovation of the 1930s-era home. 

He said that it took nearly two hours and 30 firefighters to bring the blaze under control. 

The home is considered a total loss, Wilson said, after suffering heavy fire damage, including the partial collapse of the floor and ceilings. 

No injuries were reported at the scene.

Wilson said that according to the homeowners, a family member lives at the home and was not home at the time of the fire. The family had been notified by neighbors that the house was on fire.

A fire investigator responding to the scene was able to determine that the fire originated on the front porch of the home, Wilson said. The cause was ruled accidental due to the improper disposal of smoking materials, he said.

Equipment at the fire scene included six fire engines, one ladder truck, one squad, one air/light unit, one medic unit, two battalion chiefs, two fire investigators, and one PIO.