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Fire destroys $1.7 million house

CONYERS -- One of the largest and more expensive houses in Rockdale County was destroyed by fire early Saturday morning.

Investigators with the Rockdale County Fire Division had not identified the cause of the fire at 1101 Lake Haynes Court. The call came in about 4 a.m. RCFD Dep. Chief Mike Lee said the occupants inside the house were able to get out safely, and no injuries were reported.

"It was a large single-family residence, about 16,000 square feet, and it was a total loss," Lee said.

Firefighters remained at the scene well into the late afternoon Saturday as they continued to work to get the fire under control. Henry County and DeKalb County units were brought in on mutual aid to cover Stations 1 and 4 on standby during this time.

The homeowners did not allow anyone near the house, which sat on 15.85 acres at the end of a cul de sac in the Lake Haynes subdivision, a neighborhood of upper-scale homes off Ga. Highway 20 North.

The house is owned by Donald and Janice Murphy. The 2009 county tax assessment had the property and house valued at $1.76 million. The residence included a swimming pool, two bath houses, detached garage and 800-square-foot utility building, according to county tax records.

The house has had a history of incidents in the past. In September 2008, a 31-year-old man was found at the bottom of a pool during a large gathering at the house. The man survived after he was transported by helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

The Lake Haynes house was also where 4-year-old Jonette Kilpatrick drowned on March 24, 2007. She was attending a birthday party when she was discovered unconscious in the pool. Attempts to revive her at the pool failed, and she later died at Rockdale Medical Center.

Also, parties were common at the house. The Murphys were known to be involved in the rap music industry and hosted large parties for clients in the past, including one for Atlanta hip hop performer Soulja Boy Tell 'Em.

Lee said only a few people were in the house at the time of the fire.