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Fireworks started blaze that burned three Dawsonville houses, officials say
Burt's Crossing neighborhood bands together to help victims of fire
4th fire 5
Three homes on Burt's Crossing Drive in Dawsonville are taped off after a fire demolished three homes and displaced 11 people shortly after midnight on July 5. - photo by Jessica Taylor

A fire that broke out shortly after midnight July 5 and destroyed three homes in a Dawsonville subdivision was started by fireworks, according to Glenn Allen, state fire marshal spokesman. 

Allen said that the fire originated at 48 Burt's Crossing Drive and has been ruled accidental. 

"The cause of the fire was the improper discarding of fireworks," he said. "After igniting the fireworks, the homeowner placed them in a trash can outside of his house, the fireworks reignited."

Dawson County Fire Chief Danny Thompson said Thursday that units responded to a structure fire in Burt's Crossing subdivision shortly after midnight July 5. The fire was contained within the hour by Dawson County units as well as mutual aid from Forsyth County, but homes at 38, 48 and 60 Burt's Crossing Drive were destroyed and the fire displaced 11 people who were living in the homes. 

Thompson said that other homes in the area were damaged, including 68 Burt's Crossing Drive and 10 and 29 Winding Creek Court. The homes had exterior damage but are still livable. 

No civilians or firefighters were injured.

Doug Rainwater, a spokesman with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, said one of the homes belonged to a member of the county's SWAT team. 

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens recommends the following after the ignition of fireworks:

  • Submerge the firework in a bucket of water for a specific period of time to render the firework non-explosive. This process may take several hours.
  •  The fireworks should be totally immersed in the bucket of water and weighted down.
  •  Avoid disposal of the soaked firework with domestic garbage.

  • Place the soaked firework(s) in a plastic bag then into the bin.

How you can help: 

The Burt's Crossing Homeowners' association is collecting gift cards to give to the three families displaced by the fire.

Sarah Vasquez, member of the HOA board, is collecting the cards and said they will be dispersed to help the 11 people who lost their homes and all of their belongings. She can be reached at (404) 406-6440.

The board has also organized fundraisers for the three families, and Vasquez said Thursday that Fajita Grill in Dawsonville will be donating 20 percent of sales after 5 p.m. Thursday, July 12 and Pizza Azzurri in Cumming will be donating 15 percent of sales after 4 p.m. July 23. 

Izzy Gonzales has set up a GoFundMe page for her sister, Amy Rubright, whose family lost their home in the fire.  

Mandy McCracken in the Gold Creek subdivision is also collecting gift cards for the families. She can be reached at (706) 525-8060.

RIC Rack in Dawsonville is also serving as a donation site for people wishing to drop off items of clothing or other personal items for the families. The store is located at 829 Hwy. 9 and business hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.