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Three homes, restaurant burn over weekend
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It was a hot weekend in Rockdale, as firefighters battled three house fires and one restaurant fire within the span of 48 hours. At least two families were displaced in the weekend fires.

Late Friday evening, around 10 p.m., a fire broke out in the garage of a single-family home at the Plantation Woods subdivision. The flames burned through the outside wall of the garage, melting the doors and the lights in the garage area, and encroached on the outside wall of the house. The residents were not home at the time, but firefighters were able to retrieve two parakeets inside, which appeared to be in good shape, said Lee.

The garage was used to store items and did not have a car in it at the time, said Lee. The cause of the fire is undetermined but not suspicious.

On Saturday afternoon, around 6:18 p.m., in the north part of the county, the roof and attic of two-story home on Day Road also went up in flames.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, billowing heavy smoke was billowing from the house and they could see flames through the back side of the roof, said Lee. Three engines, a ladder truck and a squad car responded to the fire, along with a tanker engine from Walton County because the homes in that area were not close to a fire hydrant.

The home owner was at the scene and firefighters were able to save and retrieve a few personal items the home owner's request. "If they can tell us the house keys are here, the car keys are her or a small lock box is here, we will try to get it out and get it to them.

Then on Sunday, the RCFD battled two fires back-to-back.

The first fire broke out at 4:20 p.m. in an apartment at the Country Walk apartment complex off of Salem Road. The four-unit building was occupied at the time, but everyone was able to evacuate the apartments safely.

"Everybody got out," said Lee. "Nobody was injured."

One apartment was heavily burned and the other unit, which was next to it, sustained damage as well, forcing two families to find other places to stay.

"We did contact Red Cross to take care of the displaced families," said Lee. "There are children that reside there."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

As firefighters were clearing that scene, a grease fire broke out at the IHOP on Ga. Highway 138 around 7:30 p.m.

The restaurant was evacuated. When firefighters arrived, they saw the deep black smoke of a grease fire inside the building and found the fire had extended into the space between the roof and the panels.

"Best as they could tell, it started in the ductwork above the deep fat fryer," said Lee.

The fire was quickly brought under control and the engines left the scene around 8:43 p.m.

Although the event is still under investigation, it did not appear to be a suspicious fire, said Lee.

The restaurant is undergoing repairs and is estimated to be opened in about a week and a half.

Lee said the structure fires were four out of 41 calls handled by the department over the weekend.