An apparently unoccupied home burned down on Ga. Highway 20 Thursday evening, closing down the road for six hours as firefighters battled to keep the blaze from spreading to the surrounding woods, homes, and businesses.
Shortly before 6 p.m., the Rockdale County Fire Department received a call about the fire at the ranch-style home with a two-car garage at 2545 Ga. Highway 20 North.
When the first fire engines arrived, the house was already 70-80 percent up in flames, said Interim Deputy Chief Dan Morgan. About 25 firefighters in all responded to the scene. Two were treated for heat related stress and released shortly after midnight.
"We had a crew fighting a woods fire and two or three crews fighting a house fire at the same time and same location," he said.
"It was a defensive fire," said Morgan. "We did not enter the house." Firefighters focused on containing the fire and keeping it from spreading.
Several vehicles near the house, which did not appear to be working vehicles, also caught fire, as did a couple of sheds of nearby properties.
The house was located behind the Roger Cannon Photography studios and the Destiny Starr Academy daycare center. Morgan said. The daycare evacuated to a church parking lot farther down the street from the fire and had parents pick up their children from there.
"At no time was the Cannon photography building or preschool in any danger of being damaged. We set up our fire attack from coming down the hill," between the fire and the businesses, said Morgan.
The Ga. Forrestry Service was called and brought out their tractor to create a fire break in the brush area.
Fire engines had to use a hydrant that was across the street on Ga. 20, and had to shut down the road.
Units were on scene until about 12:30 a.m. Friday. A passerby saw smoke from smouldering brush around 7 a.m. and another unit went out again to address the hot spots, said Morgan.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, he said.