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Fire guts Lula home, destroys four cars

POSTED: December 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Sara Guevara/The Times

Hall County firefighters battle a fire in Lula that destroyed a house and several vehicles Monday afternoon. The 1,800-square-foot house and vehicles - two cars, a sport utility vehicle and a pickup truck - are at 5764 Toombs St., near Maiden Lane.

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Three people are without a home following a devastating fire in Lula Monday afternoon.

Hall County Fire Marshal Scott Cagle said he has yet to determine the cause of the blaze that destroyed the 1,800-square-foot three bedroom and two bath home of Harold Webber and his family.

The blaze, which gutted the Webbers’ Toombs Street residence and damaged six vehicles in its driveway, took more than two hours and 25,000 gallons of water for Hall County Fire Services to extinguish.

Cagle said the firefighters, who fought the burning home from multiple angles including from a ladder truck, had trouble with the water pressure coming from the Lula water system.

“It’s just not as good as it is down in Gainesville or in the Hall County water system. That’s common ... it just takes a little longer is all,” Cagle said.

Several neighbors called 911 to report smoke coming from the garage area of 5764 Toombs Street, near Maiden Lane, shortly before 4 p.m. Monday, according to Cagle.

By the time firefighters arrived, the home was completely engulfed in flames and had spread to some of the six vehicles in the driveway. Firefighters were able to get two of the vehicles out of the driveway before they were destroyed.

The fire produced a thick, black plume of smoke that could be seen as far away as Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville.

Webber and his wife arrived home around 4:30 p.m. to find their home destroyed by fire and still burning. They were visibly upset and declined to be interviewed.

The owners told Cagle that they had a refrigerator in their garage and had left space heaters on in the home while they were gone.

Cagle said he will look at those areas first — where the refrigerator and the space heaters were plugged in — when he begins to investigate the fire.

A camper, a utility truck, a sport utility vehicle and two other cars could not be saved from the flames and were destroyed. A propane tank in the camper and tires from one of the burning vehicles exploded while firefighters battled the blaze.



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