Newton FIre Service battles two house fires Tuesday

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Fire Service had two house fires Tuesday that resulted in total losses for the homeowners.

The first fire broke out around 11:30 a.m. at 131 Walnut Lane. The homeowners were out of town at the time of the blaze, according to Newton County Fire Service Deputy Chief Brad Stapp.

"When we pulled up on the scene we had heavy smoke showing from the house," he said. "It totally gutted the house."

The brick home had a full basement and the dwelling loss is estimated to be approximately $180,000, Stapp said.

The origin of the fire is unknown at this time.

"The building is unsafe to enter right now. We're waiting for the homeowner to work things out with the insurance company before we go in and look for a cause," he said.

The second fire erupted around 4 p.m. and resulted in several shifts of firefighters who had just finished mopping up from the Walnut Lane fire having to leave that location and go directly to 115 Maple Leaf Drive.

"When our guys got on the scene fire was showing through the roof," Stapp said.

This home was also a total loss, estimated to be approximately $125,000.

"According to the homeowner, he had left hot ashes outside in the rear of the house and that had apparently gotten into some landscaping material around the house and heated up," Stapp said.

A family member was at home at the time of the fire and when the smoke detector sounded was able to call for help, Stapp said. "She was able to get out with no injuries," he added.

"It was a very, very busy day," Stapp said.