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Home destroyed in blaze

COVINGTON - Fire leveled a two-story home on Ga. Highway 81 South, near Livingston Elementary School on Monday morning, according to Newton County Fire Services.

Deputy Chief Tim Smith said the fire has been classified as accidental and was caused by coals from a fireplace that were placed too close to an outside wall.

"They had cleaned ashes out of the fireplace and placed them in a metal bucket, but set it up against the house," Smith said. "It caused the siding to catch fire and the fire ran up the side of the house."

Smith said a passerby saw that the two-story, 2,200-square-foot house was on fire around 10:30 a.m. Monday and was able to get the two residents who were inside to safety. By the time NCFS arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames.

Fox 5 Atlanta TV station reported that the two residents were elderly women who were unaware that the house was on fire until the passerby, identified as Donnie Harris, alerted them.

The TV reporter said Harris told him that one of the women kept trying to go back into the house and put the fire out with a bowl of water, but he kept going after her to keep her safe.

Neither of the residents was injured, according to Smith.

Smith estimated the financial loss amounted to approximately $165,000. He said the victims have been offered assistance from the American Red Cross.

Barbara Knowles can

be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com