An Old Whelchel Road homeowner working on his lawnmower returned to the garage Monday afternoon and found flames, according to authorities.
All escaped uninjured from the Dahlonega home on the border of Hall and Lumpkin counties after 3 p.m. Monday.
“I was sitting on the front porch watching him cut the grass,” said neighbor Melissa Shubert. “After about 30 minutes, I heard him hollering, ‘Get the dogs.’”
Shubert said she heard crackling noises before noticing the house on fire, fleeing to safety and calling 911.
“Initial reports are (the) homeowner was working on his lawnmower and went inside the residence to eat and later was alerted by the sounds of his smoke detector,” Hall County Deputy Fire Chief Chad Black wrote in a news release. “When he went to investigate and opened the door to the garage, he was met by what was described as a ‘wall of fire.’”
Shubert said everyone, including the family’s dogs and lizards, escaped from the 3,000-square-foot house.
Hall County Fire Services requested a Lumpkin County tanker “due to limited water supply in this area of the county,” Black said.
Roughly 25-30 percent of the house suffered structural fire damage.