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Separate fires damage two southwest Forsyth homes

SOUTH FORSYTH — Two families were displaced — and one firefighter injured — during separate fires Sunday in southwest Forsyth.

The first blaze occurred about 11 a.m. Sunday in the Vickery neighborhood, while the second happened about 4:30 p.m. at a home between Fowler and Mullinax roads.

At the first fire, smoke was showing from the attic space of the three-story home when firefighters arrived, according to Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers.

“Crews made an aggressive interior attack and kept it contained to the attic and third floor,” Shivers said. “A significant portion of the roof was burned off of the third floor, but it appears [the home] can be salvaged and many of the family’s belongings in the lower floors will be fine.”

During the post-blaze operation that routinely involves “salvage and overhaul,” a veteran firefighter suffered respiratory exposure to “fine insulation debris.”

He was taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth for precautionary evaluation and X-rays to ensure the debris did not damage his lungs, Shivers said. He was released later that day to full duty.

The home’s residents, a couple and school-aged child, are staying with neighbors across from the Center Grove Street home, according to Shivers. No occupants were injured, and the family had no pets.

They apparently had made a fire in the morning and did not notice the chimney ablaze before an alert neighbor called 911. Investigators have deemed the blaze accidental.

Due to the proximity of the homes in the subdivision, two neighboring residences sustained charring to their roofs when hot embers and debris from shingles flew from the burning home.

One was “immediately adjacent to the primary home,” while the other was “across the street and down a short distance.”

Both potential fires were contained quickly, Shivers said, with damage limited to a small area on the roof of each structure.

In the second house fire, heavy flames were showing from main floor when crews arrived.

The home sits down a long, private driveway and far from the nearest fire hydrant. As a result, the department sent all three of its tankers. There are no regulations for how close a home must be to a hydrant, Shivers said, and the home was more than 2,050 feet.

“With large tracts of land, naturally the homes are going to be farther away,” he said.

Family members, including a couple and unspecified number of children, were in the neighborhood but not home at the time.

It appeared the accidental fire began in the basement, Shivers said, though an exact cause and origin remain unclear.

The basement sustained “virtually all of the heat, fire and smoke damage” within its concrete walls, though a small amount of flames and smoke reached the living room.

Many of the family’s belongings will be salvaged, save for anything in the basement, Shivers said.

The only causality was a pet fish; the dogs and cats made it out safe. The family is reportedly staying with neighbors.