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North Hall rental house destroyed by fire
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A Hall County Fire Services investigator climbs steps to begin taking pictures this morning as a firefighter pulls down siding to check for hot spots after extinguishing a house fire on Cleveland Highway. - photo by NAT GURLEY

A rental home on Cleveland Highway in North Hall County was destroyed by fire Thursday morning.

The call came in just after 9 a.m. When firefighters arrived, the 1,400-square-foot house at 4420 Cleveland Highway was fully involved in heavy flames, Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said.

Kimbrell said typically when calls come from passers-by, the fire has grown too large “and usually makes for a larger fire and worse case.”

As firefighters walked around the charred interior, Cleta Smallwood, the property owner, stood outside watching with a neighbor.

Smallwood said the home was built in the late 1940s and used to belong to her parents. The family of five that currently rents the home has lived there for the last three years.

Smallwood said none of the residents were home at the time of the fire but the family lost their 5-month-old puppy who was kept in the bathroom during the day.

Smallwood, who lives just a few houses down, said her neighbor ran over to tell her about the fire.

“I never did see any flames,” Smallwood said. “When I came up here all I saw was smoke coming out of the windows. The (firefighter) said it must have started on the kitchen or porch.”

Kimbrell said a preliminary investigation suggested the fire was electrical and accidental. Investigators will follow up to confirm after the inside of the home has cooled off.

The estimated value of the loss is between $150,000 and $175,000, Kimbrell said.

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