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Fully involved house fire leaves one person missing

Press release from Gainesville Fire Rescue

Update: The Fire Investigator from Gainesville Fire Rescue, working with the Gainesville Police Department, located the victim at the Shands Hospital around 5:00 a.m. this morning.  The victim was treated for minor injuries. 

On Nov. 16 at 1:10 a.m., Gainesville Fire Rescue (GFR) crews from Stations 1 and 3 were dispatched to a residential house fire in the 1100 block of NW 4th St.

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On scene, crews found a fully-involved two-story home. Because the fire had progressed and consumed every room in the home and burned through the 2nd story floor, firefighters began a defensive attack to stop the fire from spreading to a nearby wooded area and businesses. The home was originally believed to be abandoned, however the owners confirmed that a family friend had been staying in the home for the past two weeks. Crews had the fire contained within 15 minutes of arrival, but extensive overhaul will be required to safely conduct an investigation.

One occupant was still presumed missing at the time but later located (see update above). The cause of the fire is under investigation.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year in the United States, about 2,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. About two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are considered to be one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire and could reduce by almost half the risk of dying from a fire in your home. Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Hillhouse commented that this fire shows the importance of working home smoke detectors and wanted to remind citizens to be cognizant of responsible fire safety practices as the city begins to experience colder than normal temperatures and high winds.