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3 people escape Flowery Branch house fire; 1 taken to hospital
Survivor recounts Saturday morning incident at Atlanta Highway home
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Justin Mize points to his bedroom window from which he leaped to escape a fire he said started from an electric blanket in the Atlanta Highway house early Saturday morning in Flowery Branch. Mize’s mother was transported to the hospital, and two other family members suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation. - photo by FRANK REDDY

To escape a blaze he said started with a smoking electric blanket in his grandmother’s room Saturday morning, Justin Mize leaped out of his bedroom window.

“It was so much smoke in there,” Mize said as he stood outside the still-smoldering remnants of his Flowery Branch home. “It was overwhelming. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t breathe, but I knew I had to get out of there.”

Mize said his mother was transported to the hospital, and two other family members suffered minor burns after the house caught fire Saturday morning in Flowery Branch.

Hall County Fire Services Deputy Fire Chief Black confirmed two were treated at the scene for “very minor burns and smoke inhalation,” while another was transported to the hospital.

Black said the call came in at 8:07 a.m. regarding a house fire at 5849 Atlanta Highway. Crews found the 1,500-square-foot structure “with heavy fire showing” and vehicles in close proximity to the blaze.

Two of the cars, which Mize pointed out Saturday morning, were badly damaged in the fire.

Black said firefighters Saturday afternoon determined the fire was in fact “accidental in nature” and started inside one of the bedrooms.

“There were multiple occupants asleep at the time of the fire, and (they) woke up to flames in the bedroom,” Black said.

He added that one person who lived in an RV next to the residence “did not realize everyone was out and entered the house to look for others and suffered first- and second-degree burns to her face.”

As of the last update, Black said, she was going to be held overnight for observation at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

Black said firefighters will be returning to the home for further investigation into the cause of the fire.

“I’m glad everybody is OK,” said Mize, adding that his family had been renting the home for about five years now. “We’ve got Red Cross coming this afternoon, and they said they’ll help us with lodging. We’re thankful for that, but I don’t know what we’re going to do next.”