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Authorities: Man set fire to home, killed himself; family displaced

A man intentionally set fire to his house and killed himself with a firearm on Tuesday in unincorporated Buford, according to authorities.

Darin James Powers, 41, was the only person at the home at the time of the incident and was found dead outside the back door, Gwinnett County Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge wrote in an email.

The American Red Cross is providing assistance for the remaining family members that were displaced from the home, and family friend Jill Haney has set up a GoFundMe page for the family.

Haney said Darin’s wife Michelle, daughter Ashley Roberts, son-in-law Garrett, granddaughter Kyrie, 14-year-old stepson Michael and 4-year-old son Tyler have all been displaced from the home, which was a total loss.

“The family is in great need of funds to recover financially from this tragedy. When you think about the things you do every day to get ready in the mornings, they have nothing: clothes, towels, soap, shampoo, hair brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, shoes, etc.,” Haney wrote on the GoFundMe page. “It would mean so much to this family to help them get back on their feet.  God bless all donations no matter how big or small.”

A neighbor called 911 at 10:16 a.m. Tuesday after hearing a loud pop and seeing smoke coming from the house on Bradford Walk Trail.

A neighbor told firefighters that someone might be trapped inside. They found Darin Powers in the backyard of the home, and a weapon was found in debris near the back door.

The GoFundMe page said he was a commercial driver for a trucking company.

The fire also damaged a pickup truck parked in the garage. Heat from the burning house melted the exterior vinyl siding on two nearby houses, as well.

Fire investigators collected samples from inside the house to send to the crime lab for testing to determine if an accelerant was used to spark the blaze. Firefighters called for a trackhoe late Tuesday afternoon to separate debris and push over unstable walls to complete extinguishment of hotspots.