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Newton County firefighters have busy weekend

COVINGTON -- Newton County Fire Service firefighters were kept busy over the weekend with two house fires and an assortment of brush and yard fires that got out of control, according to Deputy Fire Chief Brad Stapp.

The first house fire was Friday night around 10 p.m. at 60 Copeland Circle, located off the Ga. Highway 162 Connector.

A two-story frame house caught fire upstairs, burning the roof off and gutting the upper floor, Stapp said.

Flames were visible when firefighters arrived at the scene.

"The mother was away from the home. The kids and a caretaker were there," Stapp said, adding that no one was hurt.

The home is uninhabitable and fire investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze, he said.

Then about four hours later, around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, firefighters were summoned to 30 Mabry Farms Ct., off Ga. Highway 36.

Stapp said a neighbor saw flames and called the fire in. The family -- a husband, wife and two youngsters -- was able to escape without injury.

"It was an accidental fire. Some smoking materials got discarded on the back porch and caused the fire," Stapp said.

The roof was burned off this home and it is uninhabitable, as well.

Other fires reported were outside as citizens began taking advantage of the warm temperatures and tried to get a jump on spring landscaping.

"This is typical. Everybody is trying to get things burned before the Burn Ban in May," Stapp said.

He cautioned that just because there's been a lot of rain lately, windy conditions can still dry out surface debris and fire can easily spread. He also reminded citizens that they need to apply for burn permits with the Georgia Forestry Commission at 770-784-2480 before burning.