The Valdosta Daily Times
LOWNDES COUNTY —
Smoke was visible for miles Friday afternoon from a house fire on Ivydale Court in the Northlake subdivision in Lowndes County.
Firefighters from numerous Lowndes County units, along with backup from Hahira, battled the blaze for more than an hour. The home was fully engulfed in flames when the first responders arrived shortly after the 911 calls, and despite their best efforts, appeared to be a total loss.
Firefighters stayed on the scene for hours as flames kept erupting in different areas of the house. The roof collapsed in several places, as the fire appeared to start in the rear of the home and spread through the roof and attic space.
Homeowner Tanner Maxwell arrived shortly after the firefighters and was overcome with emotion as officials and a neighbor tried to console him. No one was home at the time of the fire, and neighbors said the family’s dog had gotten out safely but ran off into a nearby wooded area. Several volunteers were searching for the frightened animal.
Scores of neighbors lined the streets around the house, shooting video and photos, several of which have been uploaded to public web sites. Others simply stared in disbelief and sadness at the scene unfolding before them.
Located on a cul-de-sac, the house was directly across from a fire hydrant and firefighters kept a steady stream of water on the blaze, both from the water cannons on the fire trucks and with hand-held hoses. However, all that could be done was to extinguish the fire as the house and its contents appeared unsalvageable.
According to neighbors, the homeowner reportedly owns a novelty and haunted house business, and a hearse that was parked in the driveway was heavily damaged by the fire. When firefighters pried open the garage door, a 6-foot gargoyle statue sat silhouetted by burned objects all around it.
No spokesman from Lowndes County was present at the scene and the emergency personnel would not comment on the record other than to say that the cause of the fire was unknown at the time and investigators would be on the scene for a day or two to determine what ignited the blaze.