Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fire chief: Buckhead home ‘a total loss’


    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Atlanta fire officials said Wednesday it could be some time before they know what started the blaze that ultimately destroyed a large home in Buckhead.
    The homeowners, however, said they believe work being done on the roof is what started the inferno early Tuesday evening.
    “I am sure it will be awhile before a cause is determined,” fire department spokeswoman Janet Ward said in an email Wednesday afternoon.
    Firefighters were on the scene for hours, including overnight, after the main fire was extinguished, putting out hot spots and looking for flare ups.
    The fire at the home, near the intersection of Habersham and West Wesley roads, was reported to authorities just after 6 p.m. Tuesday. Heavy smoke and flames were seen in the attic area when firefighters arrived, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran said.
    “It spread very quickly and vented through the roof and the roof ultimately collapsed,” he said, adding that there was eventually a “pancaking effect” of upper levels of the house collapsing onto lower levels.
    The home, which has entrances on Habersham and Vernon roads, is “really a total loss,” the chief said.
    Tuesday evening, the chief said hidden fires and spot fires would be a challenge once the main body of the fire was knocked down.
    According to tax records, the home is owned by Gerry and Peggy Hull. When reached by phone, Gerry Hull said family members were at the residence when the fire began, but were able to exit unharmed. He said the family’s pets were also safely evacuated.
    Ward said firefighters were challenged initially because of the “distance between the hydrants and the home.”
    “Water experiences friction going through a hose,” she said. “The farther it has to travel the more friction. It can affect (water) pressure.”
    Several firefighters converged on the scene and roads were closed near the home when the blaze was first reported.
    — Staff photographer John Spink contributed to this report.

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