Rockdale Fire battles Ga. 20 blaze

CONYERS -- A Thursday evening blaze shut down a portion of Ga. 20 North in Rockdale County and sent two firefighters to Rockdale Medical Center for treatment of heat-related injuries.

Deputy Fire Chief Dan Morgan with Rockdale County Fire and Rescue said the two firefighters were treated and released the same evening and no other injuries were reported.

Morgan said the blaze engulfed a house located at 2545 Ga. Highway 20 North, just behind the Roger Cannon Photography studio, and spread to two outbuildings, two cars and a trailer. Morgan said it did not appear that anyone was living in the house and it was undetermined if either of the vehicles was operational.

The fire call came in shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday, Morgan said, and at one time as many as 31 people were on the scene from Fire and Rescue, National EMS, the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office, Georgia Forestry Commission and other agencies. As many as 28 of those personnel were from the Fire Department, he said.

"We had six engines, a ladder truck, a squad (vehicle) and the Georgia Forestry Unit brought their tractor to cut a break around (the fire) so it wouldn't spread during the night," Morgan said, adding that the Fire Department remained on the scene until midnight cleaning up hotspots. Fire units were called back to the scene Friday morning after fire activity was reported in the fire break, he said.

Morgan said when the first fire units arrived on the scene the house was well involved and the fire had already spread to the outbuildings and nearby woods. That section of Ga. 20 was closed to through traffic for five or six hours, Morgan said, and a nearby day care center was evacuated as a precautionary measure to a church parking lot on Ga. 20 where parents were able to pick up their children.

"Because the fire hydrants are on the other side of the road in that area we had to lay one of our big 5-inch hoses across the road," Morgan explained. "The road may have been detoured for a good six hours."

As of Friday morning Morgan said investigators had not yet determined a cause of the fire. There were no homeowners on the scene Thursday, he said, and Georgia Power personnel were there trying to determine if power had been connected to the ranch-style house. There was no gas service connected to the house.

Morgan said the fire was so advanced when firefighters arrived that they worked it as a defensive effort. He said they were able to protect the Roger Cannon Photography building as well as a propane tank on the house property.