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Fire chars empty home
Officials urging caution with arrival of chill
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Forsyth County News


The Forsyth County Fire Department had a busy weekend, both locally and in surrounding counties.

Firefighters responded about 2 a.m. Saturday to a blaze at a house on Tanglewood Circle, off Shady Grove Road in northeastern Forsyth.

Fire Capt. Kevin Wallace said the empty structure, which is near Lake Lanier, suffered heavy damage.

“The owners had moved out approximately a month ago,” said Wallace, adding that it is not clear if the home was under foreclosure.

He said the former residents now live in another state and utilities were not on when the fire occurred.

Wallace wasn’t ready to classify the blaze as suspicious.

“I don’t see any indications of it, but there are a few more details that I want to iron out,” he said.

Fire department divers were called Sunday to help public safety officials in Roswell recover a 51-year-old drowning victim whose kayak tipped over on a private pond in his neighborhood.

“He was apparently out paddling around the pond and capsized,” Wallace said.

He added that several bystanders had jumped in and attempted to find the man before help arrived.

“At that point it was still a rescue, not a recovery, because he hadn’t been in the water that long,” Wallace said. “We responded and we’d been in the water about 13 or 14 minutes and one of our divers located him.”

In other developments, Wallace said an Oct. 22 fire at a home on Kennemore Drive remains under investigation.

Investigators with the department are still waiting on autopsy results from the GBI Crime Lab in the death of 37-year-old Michael Smith, who was pulled from the home and died after being taken to North Fulton Hospital in Roswell.

With the arrival of cooler temperatures, Wallace cautioned residents to have their chimneys inspected before using their fireplaces.

“We’ve had several chimney fires in the last week that could’ve led to something pretty serious,” Wallace said.

He said homeowners should make sure they are using the proper materials for the types of fireplaces they have.