Fire investigators on Thursday found themselves dealing with a rather unusual case after an armed intruder broke into a Loganville home, fired at least one shot and torched the home while one of the residents was still inside.
The fire destroyed the home, leaving a family of four homeless. It also caused damage to a second house and high winds sent embers flying into the yard of a third home.
Still, no one was injured in the incident and now investigators are trying to find out the identity of the intruder, the circumstances of the shooting and how the fire was started.
They are also trying to determine if the intruder targeted the home.
“It does sound different,” Gwinnett County Fire spokesman Lt. Colin S. Rhoden said. “What home invasions I’ve heard about don’t normally have home invaders setting fire to a home.”
At 12:43 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a house in the 4200 block of Peace Rose Place after the homeowner called to say an intruder had set fire to his home.
There was also a report of gunfire.
The homeowner was able to leave the house before firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and fire throughout the two-story house with a bonus room over the garage, Lt. Rhoden said.
Due to the high wind conditions and the advanced fire spread, firefighters were unable to enter the house and instead extinguished the blaze with the ladder truck from the exterior.
The radiant heat caused damage to the vinyl siding of the home next door, Lt. Rhoden said. The high winds caused embers to ignite the grass to the home across the street from the residence that was on fire, he said.
Crews were faced with the additional danger of downed power lines and the gas service meter for the home was damaged, making it impossible to shut down the gas.
The high winds made the possibility of rapid fire spread more likely.
“The home was totally ravaged by the fire and is a total loss,” Lt. Rhoden said, adding that two adults and two school-aged children were displaced by the fire.
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