Gainesville firefighters were spread out across town early Sunday putting out grass and leaf fires, as well as a blaze that destroyed a vacant two-story home.
Firefighters first responded at about 3 a.m. to the house fire at 2543 Mango Court in the Catalina subdivision off Memorial Park Road.
“Once they pulled out of the station, they could see the glow from the house,” said Chief Jon Canada. “This subdivision is right behind our station on Memorial Park.”
The house, which Canada estimated at 1,800 square feet, was about three-fourths involved when firefighters arrived.
“The fire was so intense our crews went into a defensive mode,” Canada said. “The roof had already collapsed on the home into the second floor, and the second floor had some partial collapse. So, it was very dangerous for crews to try to enter.”
Once the fire was put out, crews entered the home to search for occupants, but found no one.
“Neighbors said that no one had lived there in approximately six months, but (the house) did have some furnishings in it, clothing and stuff like that,” Canada said. “We are still investigating. We don’t know if the house has been abandoned or what right now.”
One firefighter was overcome by dehydration and had to be taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he was treated and later released.
“He’s doing fine,” Canada said.
The cause of the fire is not known at this point, the chief said.
He said the house was a total loss but wasn’t ready yet to place a dollar value on the damage.
Canada praised firefighters on the scene for preventing the fire from spreading to houses on either side.
In the middle of that episode, the fire department got calls about leaf and grass fires at three locations — one on Northside Drive and two on North Avenue — within 30 to 40 minutes.
“Evidently, we had a little bit of suspicious activity going on,” Canada said.
With all the fires happening at once, “we got very busy real quick,” he said.
The chief said he doesn’t expect the house fire was intentional.
“We had police and our folks canvassing the area to see if we could see anything suspicious, but we did not,” Canada said.