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Benefit fund set up after house fire
2. House fire pic
A home off Coltrane Drive near the Dawson/Forsyth County line was deemed a complete loss following a fire on Saturday. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

A local woman lost nearly everything she owned in a fire Saturday afternoon.

Family said Ellarea Johnson was frying apple pies for a friend when her home on Coltrane Drive on the Dawson/Forsyth County line caught fire.

"She's always making pies and baking for people," said her niece Tammy Sosebee. "She had been cooking and someone came to the door and she was talking to them."

They then noticed smoke billowing from inside.

"When she touched the wall, it was hot. Then she opened the door and the whole room was on fire," Sosebee said.

The 71-year-old was able to grab the keys to her truck but nothing else, Sosebee said.

"They're thinking it was an electrical problem. She's been wanting to get someone out to check it out," she said.

Johnson, who works at Walmart in Dawsonville, and her daughter lived at the home.

They are now staying with relatives, Sosebee said.

"She's just the sweetest lady you've ever met.

"She's helped my family so many times," Sosebee said.

"She had lived there more than 33 years. She has no insurance."

Immediately, upon learning of the fire, Sosebee took to social media to help her aunt.

An account has been set up at

"Her bother said he can build her a two bedroom house for $30,000, and that he'll donate the labor," Sosebee said.

Dawson County Emergency Services director Billy Thurmond said the home was fully engulfed when firefighters from Dawson and Forsyth counties arrived on scene.

While the home is actually in Forsyth County, Dawson County responded to the fire through a mutual aid agreement.