The Old Cedar Lane home of Mark Wohlers, a former Atlanta Braves pitcher, was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 1, said Milton Fire Chief Robert Edgar.
Chief Edgar said his department received the call at 12:47 a.m.
"We had a fully involved structure, which then put us right into a defensive mode once we confirmed that everybody was out," he said.
Milton and Alpharetta firefighters had extra issues in fighting the fire at this two-story home.
"That whole subdivision in there has cedar shingles, which just adds fuel, pardon the pun here, it just adds fuel to the fire," Chief Edgar said.
Cedar shingles are very flammable once they start on fire, he said.
"It's very difficult to get ahead of them. Plus, we had probably 20 mph winds blowing right into the face of the house, so that's what pushed the fire so rapidly into the house," Milton's fire chief said.
That wind caused problems for the firefighters and neighboring Kensington Farms subdivision. Embers were blowing over from the Wohlers' property south to Kensington Farms.
"We had to send two trucks over there to extinguish several grass fires," he said.
No homes caught on fire because of the embers, but several grass fires had to be put out.
"Once we got the bulk of the fire knocked down, that pretty much ended that concern" Chief Edgar said.
No cause had been determined by early afternoon. Investigators were on scene starting at night and continuing through the day on Tuesday. Milton investigators will meet with the homeowner's insurance company's investigator, who is providing assistance.
"Hopefully we are going to have some answers soon," Chief Edgar said.
The severe thunderstorm came through Milton at about 6 p.m. on Monday, he said. This fire happened after midnight.
"Certainly a lot of time had passed," Chief Edgar said.
The storm hasn't been ruled out yet as a cause, but nothing has been determined yet.
Chief Edgar said 18 firefighters responded to the fire in six units. Firefighters from Milton Fire Station 41 and Alpharetta Station 5 were the closest and first to arrive, one behind the other. Two additional units were called in to fight grass fires at Kensington Farms.
The fire was handled between units from Milton and Alpharetta, which is a normal response for the two cities under an automatic aid agreement. The fire was handled without any issues or problems in covering the rest of the two cities, Chief Edgar said. Units were moved around during the fire to avoid gaps in coverage.
The home was built in 2000, according to the Fulton County Board of Assessors' Web site. It had five bedrooms, four full and two half-baths, and had a full basement. It was just over 5,100 square feet on 1.49 acres of land. The appraised value forthe property for 2010 was $886,500. Wohlers paid $698,814 for it in September 2000.