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Fire destroys Old Mt. Zion Rd. house
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A smoke detector saved four lives early Thursday, when a couple was awakened to find their bedroom and the first floor of their house filled with smoke.

The couple managed to evacuate themselves along with two dogs as their home at 120 Old Mount Zion Road was destroyed by flames around 4 a.m. Thursday. Two other dogs are still missing.

Newton County Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien said the home was a total loss. The home itself – not including the land or contents – was valued at $66,500 with a storage building worth $7,100, according to the Newton County Tax Assessor’s website. The home was 1,771 square feet with a porch and attached garage totaling 585 square feet.

Firefighters arrived quickly, but there was already heavy smoke and flames showing from the basement and first floor of the house. There is no fire hydrant on Old Mount Zion Road, so the trucks had to lay about 2,000 feet of hose to connect to the nearby fire station on Mount Zion Road.

O’Brien said the fire is still under investigation. He said the wife had an indoor nursery in her basement – where the fire started –where she had ornamental plants and flowers. O’Brien said officials are leaning toward a malfunction as the cause, whether in the lighting or elsewhere.