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Firefighters battle three blazes in two days
House on Amicalola Church Road ruled arson; couple arrested
A-Three House Fires pic
Firefighters battled three blazes in less than 24 hours, including a 3,000-square-feet home on Harmony Church Road early Tuesday morning. The cause of the Harmony Church Road fire had not been determine, but does not seem suspicious, according to authorities. - photo by For the Dawson County News

Two people are in custody in connection with a house fire on Amicalola Church Road that has been ruled arson.

Richard James Justice, 47, and Karen Renee Boling, 54, both of Dawsonville, were arrested Monday afternoon, according to Dawson County Sheriff's jail records.

Justice was charged with first degree arson, making false statements and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Charges against Boling include making false statements and party to a crime.

Chief Lanier Swafford, director of Dawson County Emergency Services, said the pair was arrested hours after firefighters responded to the residential structure fire reported just before 7 a.m. Monday.

"Crews made an aggressive attack, but the structure suffered heavy fire damage," he said. "The fire was deemed to be intentionally set, and there were two arrests made yesterday in connection with this fire."

Swafford referred questions about the arrest to the Dawson County Sheriff's Office, which handled the investigation.

It was unclear as of Tuesday afternoon if either of the suspects lived at the home.

Monday's blaze was the first of three residential fires in less than 24 hours in Dawson County.

Crews were also called out to fires on Harmony Church Road and Hwy. 9 South early Tuesday morning.

"They came in real close to the same time. Forsyth County responded with mutual aid for both fires," Swafford said.

The 3,000-square-foot home on Harmony Church Road was 70 percent involved when workers arrived on the scene just before 4 a.m.

Everyone was able to get out of the house safely before the fire department's arrival, but the house is a total loss, according to Swafford.

"There was a large camper-trailer and an outbuilding that was saved with no damage," he said.

Shortly after crews arrived at the Harmony Church fire, a call came in about another fire at a home on Hwy. 9 South, near Jenkins Road.

The call came in as a bedroom on fire. The first units arrived on scene and reported that a room and its contents were on fire," Swafford said. "The fire was contained to that room, but the structure did suffer smoke and water damage."

Neither of the Tuesday morning fires were considered suspicious, though both remain under investigation, according to Swafford. No injuries were reported in any of the fires.