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Fires gut one home, heavily damage another Saturday

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Just before 1 p.m., three engine companies were sent to a home at 357 Freeman Ferry Road, near its intersection with Turner Chapel Road.

That fire erupted at one end of the house and literally raced to the opposite end of the home, which had been added on to several times. Division Chief Dean Oswalt said the construction and additions created problems for firefighters as portions of roof collapsed several times.

“It was two stories, and the ceilings collapsed all the way down into the basement, so it was extremely difficult,” Oswalt said. He and Deputy Fire Chief Curt Pierson were both at a loss to explain how the fire spread from one end of the home to the other as rapidly as it did.

Homeowner Larry Reeves said it was the third fire at his residence in less than a year. He said he heard a loud pop that actually knocked him back.

“I’m okay,” Reeves said. His wife and a son who also lived at the residence were away from home when the fire broke out.  Reeves was concerned about the fate of a large number of pets that were in the home. Oswalt said crews had not been able to get inside the building and he would have a better idea how many animals died during the fire Sunday,

Crews battled the flames and resultant hot spots for over three hours Saturday afternoon before relief crews were brought in around 4:30 p.m. to make sure the fire was completely out.

Three Rome-Floyd County Fire Department engine companies had previously been called to 812 Maple Road at 12:39 p.m., where heavy black smoke was billowing from the attic of the home when they arrived.  The fire could be seen shooting through the eaves on the front of the home and west side of the small frame residence.

A male occupant and two children were able to escape safely, and joined neighbors across the street watching firefighters battle the flames. Two other residents were not at home when the blaze broke out.

Battalion Chief Danny Lee said it appears the fire may have been touched off by a space heater in a bedroom, but Fire Marshal Johnie Evans is conducting a follow up investigation.

Lee said the male occupant said there is other family in the area they could stay with, and declined offers to bring in the American Red Cross to help with lodging.