Fire Destroys Gumlog Home

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

An elderly woman is safe and staying with friends after her home burned to the ground Sunday night in the Gumlog community.

It happened about 8 p.m. Sunday on the 800 block of Lakeshore Drive off  State Route 328.

Homeowner Louise Fletcher said she was already in bed when she smelled the smoke, which she said was coming from the attic.

Fletcher said when she opened the attic door, flames shot out.

She was able to make it out of the home safely, while neighbors saw the flames and called 911.

One neighbor, Rick Fuller, who owns a lake home next to Fletcher’s, said he came up from his home in Fayette County Sunday night, as soon as he heard Fletcher’s home was in flames.

“I got a call from a guy that lives on the other side of her about 11p Sunday night,” Fuller said. “I’ve known Miss Fletcher since the early ’70′s and she’s like family to me so when I  heard her house had burned down, I beat feet to get up here and take care of her.” 

Fuller said Fletcher lost everything in the fire and was left with only the clothes she was wearing.

“My wife is here and we’re going to take her today to get her some new clothes,” he said. “She also has to get her prescription medications refilled. So we’re going to take full responsibility for her until her son gets here and then we’ll turn her over to him.”

Fletcher had lived in the lake cottage since 1968.

Fuller said Fletcher’ son is coming from Florida and she will return there with him.

Both the Gumlog and Line Volunteer Fire Departments answered the call and when they arrived the house was fully involved.

Fuller credited their quick response with saving the homes next to Fletcher’s.

“They were here within minutes,” Fuller said. “I want to give them credit. I was a volunteer firefighter in Coweta County many, many years ago so I understand that all of their equipment is purchased through donations and they need donations.”

Fuller said he plans to make a sizeable donation to the Gumlog Fire Department before he leaves.

In a separate incident, a two-year-child died and other family members were injured in a house fire early Sunday morning on Rocky Ford Road in the Shoal Creek community of Hart County.

Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland said two-year-old Damien Westley Reddick was in a room built on the back of the mobile home and firefighters were unable to get to the toddler in time.

Authorities believe the child died of smoke inhalation, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death. 

Cleveland said the other family members, the parents and two other children, were also injured trying to reach the toddler and taken to the Augusta Burn Center.

Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office Spokesman Glenn Allen said it appears the HartCounty blaze may have started with a space heater too close to a bed or furniture.