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Update: Fire Destroys Home on Tom Smith Road in Lilburn

A family of three and their dog escaped unharmed from a blaze that totally destroyed their home on Tom Smith Road.

Updated 10:45 a.m.

A family escaped unharmed from a blaze that destroyed their home overnight on the 800 block of Tom Smith Road.

Firefighters responded to a call just before midnight, and the blaze was so intense by the time they arrived that it could be battled only from the outside, Captain Tommy Rutledge of Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services said.

Owner Donna Bryson said she had been asleep when the smell of smoke awoke her about 11:45 p.m. Sunday. Seeing smoke coming from around the fireplace, she quickly aroused her husband and son, and they left the house immediately.

"Within five or 10 minutes, the whole roof opened up and the whole house was just an inferno," Bryson said.

The house, was only finished in August.

Bryson sat in the parking lot across the road to watch as firefighters continued to put out hot spots and to tear down the unstable walls, saying she was just grateful no one was injured.

"We're going to build back," she said. "This you can replace, but you can't replace your family."

The cause isn't yet known, but Bryson said the fire department thinks it started in the basement.

There were "heavy flames" in the basement area of the 7,800 square feet home by the time the firefighters arrived, Rutledge said in an emailed release. "The fire extended to the attic and broke through the roof before being brought under control," Rutledge said.

The family of three wasn't able to take anything from the house, not even car keys nor Bryson's wedding ring. They're not in need of donations, she said. A neighbor has loaned her a truck, and they have a lot of family in the area.

"We're so well taken care of," Bryson said, noting the "great people of Lilburn."

Kristie Taylor November 07, 2011 at 11:19 PM
I have watched in Aw as this beautiful home was being built. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the home on fire this morning. I stopped my vehicle on the way home this evening to say a prayer. So glad to read that no one was injured.
Donna November 08, 2011 at 01:06 AM
Hey Donna, this is Donna from up the street on TSR....We are all so sad for your loss and want you to know that your neighbors on TSR will do anything for you if you need it. I know you have lots of family and friends, but we on TSR are a close knit family and would like you to know that we are thinking of you and praying for you during this time. Please let us know if we can do anything for you.
Diane November 08, 2011 at 04:21 PM
I live in Foxmoor down the street and have driven by the house daily watching it be built, almost like a piece of art. I happened to hear and see the fire truck out my bathroom window while brushing my teeth...I was then stunned monday morning to see the devastation. My thoughts are with you and your family; I felt compelled to search the internet to read about your home and what happened to it. I am so glad that everyone got out safely!
Phoebe Wallace November 15, 2011 at 04:51 PM
I live in Foxmoor and like all of the other writers I am saddened by your loss and happy you and your family are ok. Watching your home in it's building stages gave me great pleasure. Everytime I thought it couldn't get any prettier you guys added something else.I am the owner of a catering business. I promise to bring goodies to the workers while rebuilding. Blessings to you and your family.
teri December 15, 2011 at 12:59 AM
My son and I were so heartbroken for your family! Sending many prayers your way!

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