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Couple and their toddler escape fire but lose Lula home
Blaze may have started in fireplace; cold hampers crews efforts
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Kiland Miller brushes off a child's rocking horse Thursday afternoon in Lula at the burned home of Andrew and Brittany Deaton. Family members were busy at the site salvaging items not destroyed in the fire.

Lula homeowners Andrew and Brittney Deaton heard smoke alarms at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday. But when they came downstairs they didn’t see any smoke or fire, said Andrew Deaton’s brother, Nicholas Deaton.

Then they opened the front door to see the whole porch engulfed in flames.

No one was injured in the blaze on Neverson Court, though firefighters worked through freezing temperatures to control it and the home was destroyed.

“They had built a fire at about 8 (p.m.) and they said it went out at about 10:15,” Nicholas Deaton said. “They went to bed at about 11, but apparently one of the coals in the vent pipe broke somewhere and one of the hot embers got between the two pipes where the insulation was.

“It caught fire, and that’s all she wrote.”

The Deatons and their 18-month-old daughter, Emmalee, escaped, Andrew Deaton said.

“We ran down the stairs and out the garage,” he said. “I got my wife and my daughter in the car and backed them out. Then I went back to the porch to try to see what was actually on fire.”

Crews responded to the call around 5 a.m. and found the 2,500-square-foot house engulfed in flames, according to Hall County Fire Services spokesman Scott Cagle.

Firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading to nearby homes. Once they were certain the fire would not spread, the weather hampered their ability to put out hot spots, according to Cagle.

Running hose streams in the street also turned the entire cul-de-sac to ice. Cagle said crews called Lula officials to spread salt in the street, but some firefighters did fall on the ice. No injuries were reported, however.

“Subfreezing temperatures may cause us to move a little slower, and be miserable to work in, but it’s quickly put into perspective when seeing a home destroyed by a fire,” Cagle said. “We can always do the job and then get warm. But a sweet couple this morning lost everything. I don’t have the right to complain about the cold after seeing that.”

Nicholas Deaton said the family was able to salvage a couple items, but for the most part it was a complete loss. In the meantime, Deaton said his brother and sister-in-law will live with his family.

“We have an extra bedroom so they’ll stay with us however long it takes to get back on their feet again,” he said.

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