Update: Couple die in Gwinnett when a tree comes down on the house


(Buford, Ga., October 29, 2020) – Two people died during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Zeta Thursday after a large hardwood tree crashed through the roof and wall of their home on the 500 block of W. Garner Street, NW in Buford. The man and woman were found in the bed and were pinned by the trunk and limbs of the tree. They were deceased at the scene.

“Firefighters and police were called to the address at 12:26 p.m. after the brother of the male occupant was unable to reach anyone at the house and drove to the location to check on them,” Capt. Tommy Rutledge, public information officer for Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services, said he a press release. “He discovered the tree on the house and vehicles in the driveway. The man was unable to gain access to the bedroom due to the damage and was not able to make contact with his brother.”

Rutledge said crews arrived to find the roof collapsed over the majority of the structure and immediately worked to be able to see inside the bedroom. After assessing the structural integrity of the home, GCFES Technical Rescue began recovery operations.

“This is a very tragic situation for the family and the community. The incident demonstrates the magnitude of the powerful wind gusts during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Zeta. The exact time the tree fell is unknown, but is believed to have happened as the storm moved through the area,” Rutledge said.

The names of the victims is not being released by the Fire PIO due to HIPAA laws. The Medical Examiner’s Office will release the names when available.

Initial Story

Gwinnett County firefighters and police are currently on the scene of a tree down on a house in the Buford area of Gwinnett County where two adult occupants inside have been killed.

Capt. Tommy Rutledge, public information officer for Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services, said that the tree fell over the bed pinning the occupants.

“(Fire Department) Technical Rescue crew members are working to devise a plan to remove the tree and recover the bodies. The medical Examiner has been requested to respond to the scene,” Rutledge said in a press brief.

The house is located in the 500 block of West Garner St. NE in Buford. Crews were dispatched at 12:26 p.m. Rutledge said he is not able to identify the victims based on HIPAA Laws.

Additional information will be given when available.

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