Hall County Fire Marshal Scott Cagle said the call came in about 4:30 p.m. for the fire at a single story, 1,500 square-foot wood frame home at 4240 Winder Highway. The house was being rented by Israel Dino and was home to Dino, his wife and young daughter.
Dino told officials he left the house with a fire burning in the fireplace about an hour before a passerby saw smoke and called 911.
When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was pouring from the living room area. The living room floor had already caved in to the basement, so firefighters made forced entry through the basement, Cagle said.
It took about 15 firefighters some 15 minutes to get the fire under control, Cagle said.
Officials suspect the fire was started from errant embers or ashes that burned the hardwood floor next to the hearth, Cagle said.
The valued of the damage, confined mainly to the living room and basement, was estimated at $60,000.
Dino and his family are staying with relatives and the American Red Cross was not needed for assistance, Cagle said.