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Two fires in Dawson burn homes at the same time
Forsyth County crews responded to blazes on same road
Harmony Church house fire web
Firefighters battled three blazes in less than 24 hours in Dawson, including a 3,000-square-feet home on Harmony Church Road early Tuesday morning. The cause of the Harmony Church Road fire has not been determined but does not seem suspicious, according to authorities.

DAWSON COUNTY — Fire crews from Forsyth and Dawson counties responded to two residential fires on Harmony Church Road and Hwy. 9 in Dawson County early Tuesday morning.

“They came in real close to the same time. Forsyth County responded with mutual aid for both fires,” said Chief Lanier Swafford, director of Dawson County Emergency Services.

The 3,000-square-foot home on Harmony Church Road was 70 percent involved when workers arrived on the scene just before 4 a.m.

Everyone was able to get out of the house safely before the fire department’s arrival, but the house is a total loss, according to Swafford.

“There was a large camper-trailer and an outbuilding that was saved with no damage,” he said.

Shortly after crews arrived at the Harmony Church fire, a call came in about another fire at a home on Hwy. 9 South, near Jenkins Road.

The call came in as a bedroom on fire. The first units arrived on scene and reported that a room and its contents were on fire,” Swafford said. “The fire was contained to that room, but the structure did suffer smoke and water damage.”

Neither of the Tuesday morning fires are considered suspicious, though both remain under investigation, according to Swafford. No injuries were reported in any of the fires.

Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers said most of the second battalion assisted on the calls. They were back in service by about 6:30 a.m.

The two fires were among three residential fires in Dawson County in less than 24 hours, and the other has been deemed arson.
Two people are in custody in connection with the blaze on Amicalola Church Road.

Richard James Justice, 47, and Karen Renee Boling, 54, both of Dawsonville, were arrested Monday afternoon, according to Dawson County Sheriff’s jail records.

Their charges were not immediately available.

Swafford said the pair was arrested hours after firefighters responded to the residential structure fire reported just before 7 a.m. Monday.

“Crews made an aggressive attack, but the structure suffered heavy fire damage,” he said. “The fire was deemed to be intentionally set, and there were two arrests made yesterday in connection with this fire.”

Swafford referred questions about the arrest to the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, which handled the investigation.

Dawson Sheriff Billy Carlisle said warrants were being secured to officially book them on criminal charges.

It was unclear as of Tuesday afternoon if either of the suspects lived at the home.

Staff writer Kayla Robins contributed to this report.