Seven people were displaced by a fire this evening in the 200 block of South Street NE in Buford, according to Gwinnett County fire officials.
About 6:13 p.m., a neighbor reported flames coming from an older single-story house and said there were two cars in the driveway. The caller said he did not know whether anyone was in the home, said Capt. Tommy Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
Firefighters quickly deployed attach hose lines and made immediate entry to search for victims and control the blaze.
The occupants were not home, and no injuries were reported. They were contacted by a neighbor and returned home as crews were conducting overhaul and salvage operations. The family had left earlier to be with a relative who was hospitalized, Rutledge said.
The Red Cross was contacted to assist seven occupants, four adults and three children, displaced by the damage.
Fire crews used multiple hose lines to extinguish the fire. The blaze caused heavy damage to the home and contents. The blaze also caused cosmetic damage to both vehicles in the driveway.
Firefighters were challenged by a downed electrical service line due to the fire and by tongue-and-groove construction used when the home was built.
The blaze appears accidental, fire investigators said, and originated near the fireplace. The occupants reportedly left the fireplace burning and also had a live Christmas tree nearby.
It is unknown whether sparks from the fireplace ignited the fire or the potentially dry tree was a contributing factor.