Gwinnett County firefighters, volunteers hold fire safety blitz


Two weeks ago, five people were killed in a house fire in the 2200 block of Post Oak Drive in Duluth.

As a result the Gwinnett County Department of Fire, the American Red Cross and local volunteers teamed up to hold a fire safety blitz Saturday morning in the same neighborhood.

The group split up into teams and went door to door, talking with residents about fire safety and prevention. They offered to check and install new smoke alarms and encouraged residents to prepare a family fire escape plan.

"When a home breaks out and you hear that smoke alarm sound or you see smoke and flames, you've got about two minutes or less to evacuate," said Gwinnett County Fire Department Spokesperson Tommy Rutledge. "People don't realize how dark, how hot and how scary a fire really is."

Rutledge said there was no indication of working smoke alarms in the home that went up in flames. He said family members of the victims say the smoke alarms may have been disabled and the batteries taken out because they were chirping.

"Most fatal fires occur between 10PM and seven in the morning so they catch us often when we're off guard," Rutledge explained. "They catch us when we're asleep. The only thing that's going to wake you up in that situation is the sound of a smoke alarm."

Resident Clara Robinson learned that none of her smoke alarms were working. She was grateful for the help from the fire department.

"Especially since we had the fire in the neighborhood," she said. "It has made everybody a little uneasy and when they put the pamphlet out that they were going to do this, everybody in the neighborhood just thinks it's grand."

The cause of the house fire in the 2200 block of Post Oak Drive remains under investigation.Copyright 2016 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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