The 112-year-old Monticello Street home that caught fire Wednesday afternoon may be a total loss, according to Covington Fire Captain Tony Smith.
Several calls began coming in to 911 just after 12 p.m. when people passing by noticed the smoke and flames coming from the roof of the home. Honda of Conyers Owner Jay Jaynes said he was driving by and was one of the first people at the scene. Jaynes, a retired firefighter, and another person broke down the door and entered the home to make sure no one was inside. No one was found, but Jaynes said the second floor of the home could not be entered because there was too much smoke.
The roof of the home collapsed and the second floor is likely a total loss. While the first floor sustained no fire damage, there were thousands of gallons of water pumped onto the home in an effort to extinguish the blaze and that water has drenched the downstairs. Not only is the home itself damaged, but the large amount of antique furnishings inside has been as well.
Smith said that while the cause of the fire has not been pinpointed just yet, it is not suspicious in nature. Smith said they are looking at the cause possibly being electrical or natural (lightning).
The 5,011-square foot home was built in 1899, according to the Newton County Tax Assessor’s website. The home is owned by Jannette Nicholson and valued at $256,900, according to the assessor’s website; Nicholson purchased the home for $430,000 in 2006.
She had been in Florida at her other home at the time of the fire but has since toured the home, according to Smith. She alternates her time between this home and the one in Florida. No one was inside at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported by firefighters. Rumors that the home was used as a boarding house were unsubstantiated, though the house was, at one time, advertised as a special events facility.