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Fire makes home in South Hall ‘unlivable’

POSTED: December 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A fire that began in the fireplace of an elderly woman’s South Hall home Sunday night has left it unlivable, according to the Hall County fire marshal.

The fire, which was reported at 8:25 p.m., apparently started in the masonry fireplace of Christine Williamson’s home, said Hall County Fire Marshal Capt. Scott Cagle.

The home, located at 5765 Hog Mountain Road, was not insured.

Williamson was getting ready for bed Sunday night when she noticed the front of the house was full of smoke, Cagle said. She was able to get out of the home safely.

"We’re glad the fire was not while she was sleeping, because there were no smoke alarms," Cagle said.

Firefighters saw smoke showing from the 1,400-square-foot structure when they arrived at the scene, Cagle said. The fire also spread into the attic, he said.

The fireplace was being used as the sole source of heat for the home, Cagle said.

The house sustained moderate damage and is unlivable, so Williamson will be staying with family members, Cagle said.

The older home was not insured and no damages have been assessed at this time, Cagle said.

Fire officials typically see an incremental rise in the number of house fires that happen when the weather turns colder.

"We do have a lot more fires caused by heaters and fireplaces" in the colder months, Cagle said last week.

Nationally, the top cause of structure fires is cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Heating and electrical fires are second and third.

But in Hall County, "during the winter months, heating jumps to No. 1," Cagle said.

He also stressed the importance of having working smoke alarms installed in homes.



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