By Joe Johnson
Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services on Thursday responded to a reported fire at the same home in east Athens twice within four hours.
Shortly after 3 a.m., fire personnel were dispatched to a possible structure fire at the 1287 1287 Shoals Apartment Homes, 1287 Barnett Shoals Drive, where the first unit to arrive reported no visible signs of smoke could be seen from the front of the structure, said ACFES Battalion Chief Nate Moss. "While performing a 360-degree size up of the building, fire crews saw a burned pine straw bed at the rear of the building that contained remains of melted vinyl siding and boxing materials that had dripped off the building. The fire had been extinguished by tenants prior to the arrival of the fire department,"he said.
"Fire crews soaked the area to be sure there was no extension into the structure. After a thorough search of the attic and walls with a thermal imager, no extension was found. Power was disconnected to the outside AC units as fire had impinged some wiring. Maintenance personnel was called to the scene. Upon the arrival of maintenance staff, fire units returned to service," according to Moss.
Then, at 7:09 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a possible structure fire at the same apartment where Athens-Clarke police officers had already evacuated residents of the building, Moss said, and upon arrival the fire officer in charge reported seeing light smoke from the rear of the structure.
"On investigation, it was discovered that a back porch on the second floor was smoldering. At one corner of the porch, a hole had burned through the decking and burned some holes into patio furniture and a bucket on the first floor porch," the battalion chief said. "The resident poured a few jugs of water and used a fire extinguisher prior to fire department arrival."
Fire crews used a ladder to gain access to the porch but no water was used because there was no danger and to preserve the scene for a fire investigator to investigate, according to Moss, who said that no one was injured and no damage was reported inside the apartment.
An investigation was ongoing as of early Thursday afternoon.