Fire investigators are currently working to identify a New Year’s Eve partygoer believed to have set multiple fires inside an Auburn home.
Gwinnett County firefighters were dispatched to the 2000 block of Tulip Petal Road at 4:19 a.m. on Jan. 1.
When the first fire truck arrived, several people were found standing outside along with a smoldering mattress. Firefighters were informed of additional fires which had been set inside the home. According to occupants, the other fires were extinguished before the flames spread.
The occupants reported that the first fire was discovered in the garage. A chair cushion was found smoldering and was extinguished. The occupants assumed the fire was accidentally caused by smoking materials.
Moments later, the smoke alarm activated. A second fire was discovered in a hallway closet on the second floor of the structure. Within minutes, two additional fires were discovered inside the home. A mattress in a first floor bedroom was set ablaze as was a plastic fruit bowl in the den. The fires were extinguished by the occupants before the fire department arrived.
Due to the suspicious nature of the fires, investigators were called to the scene. Investigators are working to interview the 18-20 people who were inside the home when the fires occurred.
The fires were discovered as a New Year’s Eve party was ending. The partygoers were inside the house when the fires were set.
The house was not damaged by the fires. Each fire was contained to the area of origin, causing minor damage.
"These fires were intentionally set by an unknown or person(s) inside the home," said Captain Tommy Rutledge, spokesman for Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services. "The very fact that the home was occupied at the time of these fires makes this a very bold act. People could have very easily been injured or killed.”
Anyone with information is asked to please contact Gwinnett Fire Investigators at (678)518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Control HOTLINE at 1-800-282-5804.
Georgia Arson Control, Inc. offers a REWARD of UP TO $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for arson.