State investigators are continuing their probe of a pre-dawn fire Saturday that left two people dead and a third injured outside Hiawassee.
The victims who died in the home have been identified only as a woman in her 60s and a man in his 90s, said Towns County Fire and Rescue Chief Harold Copeland. An elderly man who was in the home was transported to Chatuge Regional Hospital and later released.
Identities of the victims are being withheld pending notification of out-of-state next of kin, Copeland said.
“The alarm went out at 5:17 [Saturday] morning to 88 Leisure Woods Drive in Hiawassee off Owl Creek Road,” Copeland said. “It’s a pretty good way out there.”
Owl Creek Road runs off Unicoi Turnpike (Ga. 17/75).
Copeland said a volunteer firefighter arrived within five minutes of the call to the doublewide/modular structure.
“His initial report was it was 50 to 60% involved,” Copeland said.
Two firefighters attempted to enter the burning home, but intense heat and flames pushed them back.
“It melted their helmets nearly off their heads,” Copeland said, who stressed no firefighters were injured.
Because Towns County responded with four engines and many of its personnel to the remote area, Union County Fire provided coverage for Towns County in Hiawassee, while Clay County, N.C., sent a tanker to assist with water for the firefighting effort, Copeland said.
The remote location meant water had to be shuttled to supply the engines because there are no hydrants in the area, which Copeland said is so remote there is no cell phone coverage in the area.
Copeland said he requested state fire investigators because of the fatalities.
“It’s under investigation at this time,” Copeland said.
Personnel remained on scene for about 13 hours, Copeland said.