Blaze destroys house

COVINGTON -- Newton County Fire Service reported that a Jackson Lake home burned to the ground late Sunday night.

Deputy Chief Tim Smith said firefighters were called around 10:45 p.m. and when they arrived at 50 Waters Bridge Circle, they found a single-family home with flames coming through the roof.

"We had to initiate a water shuttle as they don't have water down there," Smith said. "The house was a total loss."

Smith estimated the house and contents were worth approximately $320,000.

The homeowners were at home asleep at the time of the fire, but were able to escape without injury, Smith said.

"The fire is under investigation, and we are not ready to release the cause of the fire," Smith said. "If anyone has any information, we ask that they call the Arson Tip Line or the NCFS tip line."

The Georgia Arson Hotline can be reached at 1-800-282-5804. Rewards of up to $10,000 are given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist. Calls are taken 24 hours a day; callers can choose to remain anonymous. The NCFS hotline is 678-625-5050 or information can be given at the Web site at www.newtoncountyfireaservice.org.

In other fire news, when a frozen turkey met hot oil on Thanksgiving Day, the results were predictable. Three people suffered minor burns and a deck on the back of a north Newton County house caught fire.

"They were very lucky. It could have been a lot worse," said Newton County Fire Service Chief Mike Satterfield. "The damage was minor, around $200, and even though people were burned, it could have been much more serious. We have a five-minute response time and were able to put out the fire before it spread, which is not always the case."

Satterfield said the call came in around 12:30 Thanksgiving Day and firefighters from Station 9 on Mt. Tabor Road arrived at Brookview Place to find a small fire on the back deck of the residence caused by a turkey fryer boil over.

"The firefighters immediately extinguished the fire using a fire extinguisher," Satterfield said. "After they began cleaning up debris, they were told three bystanders who were around the fryer had small burns due to hot oil spattering on them."

Satterfield described the burns as "minor," but firefighters washed the burns with saline and called EMS to attend to the victims -- two women and a man.

Investigators discovered the turkey was frozen when it was placed in the oil. Satterfield stressed that turkeys should always be completely thawed and dried before they are put into hot oil.

"This is a prime example of how fires and burns can occur," he said. "Use every precaution and never put a frozen turkey in hot oil. The moisture will mix with the oil and then it's going to blow that oil out. You've already got a hot fire going, and that's all it takes."