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No one injured in Hickory Hills house fire
Owners not home when fire rips through structure
Gainesville fire investigators Troy Bennett, left, and David Stringer look over the remains of a house on Hickory Hills Drive that burned to the ground overnight. - photo by Tom Reed

No one was injured in a fire that destroyed an upscale, three-story home on Hickory Hills Drive early Friday, officials said.

After some difficulty locating the owners, fire officials contacted them about 10 a.m. Friday, some eight hours after the fire was first reported. Officials initially had concerns that someone may have been in the house at the time of the fire.

"Everyone’s accounted for," Gainesville Fire Chief Jon Canada said.

A woman who lived in the house was out of state and a man who lived in the house was elsewhere in Gainesville, he said. Canada declined to release the names of the owners, but public records show the home at 3044 Hickory Hills belonged to Danny and Beth Grindle.

Canada said firefighters were still dousing "hot spots" in and around the structure throughout the morning.

The 9,600-square-foot house collapsed after becoming fully engulfed.

"It was 75 to 90 percent involved when we arrived," Canada said. "There was fire from the roof to the basement."

Canada said firefighters responding from Station 2 on Holly Drive could see the orange glow of flame when they reached Lakewood Baptist Church, more than a mile away from the house.

"This fire was way ahead of us," he said. "The roof collapse shortly after we arrived and then the remaining structure collapsed floor by floor."

Canada said the house was relatively new, appearing to be about 10 years old. He said the damage estimate would likely be "upward of a million" dollars.

The cause of the fire, which is believed to have started in the basement, remains under investigation.

"It could be a matter of days or weeks" before a cause is determined, he said.

The subdivision where the home is located is off East Lake Drive, north of Chattahoochee Golf Course.