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SWAT team flash charge caused house fire during northwest Hall standoff, authorities say
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Hall County sheriff's deputies gather on Underwood Drive in Northwest Hall County Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, after a reported gunman barricaded inside a home on the drive. Five hours after sheriff's deputies responded, the man surrendered peacefully, authorities say. No one was injured in the incident. - photo by Scott Rogers

The fire during a nearly five-hour standoff in northwest Hall last week was caused by a Hall County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team device, according to authorities.

Sheriff’s Office deputies responded around 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12, to a call about an armed barricaded man at the home in the 6000 block of Underwood Drive.

A fire started on the second floor of the home around 3:40 p.m. Friday, after an hours-long standoff, and Devon Mason Brannon, 36, of Gainesville, came out roughly five minutes later.

Hall County Fire Services Division Chief Zach Brackett said the fire was caused by the sheriff office’s “use of a Sting-Ball,” a device that ejects small rubber pellets with a flash charge.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Derreck Booth said the device “came to rest on some flammable material located inside of the home and caused a fire.”

“Use of these devices always comes with some risk, however, they can be very effective in reaching a peaceful conclusion in scenarios where negotiations have had no effect or the subject refuses to cooperate,” Booth wrote in an email. “While it is unfortunate there was unintentional damage to the residence, the offender subsequently (exited) the home and was arrested without injury to law enforcement or himself, which is always the desired outcome.”

Brannon has since been charged with first-degree home invasion among other charges.

The damage to the home, which is not currently livable, is between $25,000-75,000, according to the fire marshal’s office.

Brackett said he did not know who would be considered liable for the damage.

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