Breaking: 2 Gwinnett County firefighters injured in overnight arson fire

Husband in home is charged with arson

(Lawrenceville, Ga.) – Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Rescue reported that two Gwinnett County firefighters were injured after responding at 9:12 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2021 to a reported house fire on the 450 block of Highgate Drive in Lawrenceville. The caller reported that her husband, who was locked inside the bedroom, had set something on fire. The caller got the rest of the family out of the house but believed her husband was inside the bedroom.

“Firefighters arrived on scene with light smoke showing. A walkaround was performed with light smoke coming from the upstairs. Crews entered the structure and immediately went to the upstairs bedroom where the resident was reported to be,” GCFER public information officer Capt. Brian Gaeth said in a press release. “They initially encountered dark smoke but no visible fire.”

Gaeth said conditions quickly deteriorated and two firefighters called a “mayday”, signaling to those on scene that they were in trouble.

“The firefighters were quickly found and were led out of the structure to awaiting med crews for evaluation. The incident commander followed established mayday procedures and all crews reported in for accountability. Once everyone was accounted for, lines were put in place to bring the fire under control,” Gaeth said.

The two firefighters suffered non-life threatening burn injuries and were transported to a local hospital for treatment. Gaeth said they are currently with family members and representatives from the fire department.

A fire investigator has determined that the fire was indeed arson. The male resident was outside of the house prior to the arrival of firefighters and allegedly has admitted to authorities that he started the fire but claimed it was by accident.

“That individual was taken into custody on scene by Gwinnett County Fire Investigations and is being charged with Felony Arson and Domestic Violence. The fire was set in an upstairs closet while the man’s wife, children and mother-in-law were in the home. The wife was alerted by the smoke alarms and was able to get the rest of the family outside to safety,” Gaeth said. “Firefighters would like to emphasize the importance of maintaining working smoke alarms inside your home. In this instance, the smoke alarms helped to alert the occupants allowing them sufficient time to exit the home safely.”

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