ATLANTA - A family says it will rebuild after a fire destroyed a historic Buckhead mansion.
Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran said firefighters were called out to the home along Habersham Road about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday for a reported fire.
Firefighters said when they arrived on the scene, flames could be seen coming from the attic of the home along with heavy smoke.
NewsChopper 2 flew overhead as flames quickly engulfed the whole top floor of the home.
“It’s really a total loss and it’s going to take us a while to put it out,” Cochran said.
Halsey Jennings said her uncle Gerry Hull loved the home as a boy and eventually got the chance to buy it. The family lived in the 1926 4-bedroom house for 10 years.
The family got out safely, including their pets.
Cochran said crews were in defensive mode as the fire was too dangerous to fight from inside.
“Had we done so, we would have been having a completely different conversation because of the collapse of the structure very early on,” Cochran said.
The size of the home and volume of the fire made things more difficult.
“The sizes are so large when they became fully involved to this extent that water supply will be a challenge,” Cochran said.
“It's very sad, but it's a very historic house in Atlanta which is a loss for preservation in Atlanta,” Jennings said.
Neighbor Belle Turner Lynch remembers attending a wedding on the home's front lawn as a child.
“My father came to Atlanta in 1928 to start Genuine Parts Company with Carlyle Fraser whose house this was,” Lynch said.
Hull said the fire started when a handyman tried to fix a water leak in the house and a small fire started on the roof.
Cochran said the home’s distance from the road, along with its narrow winding driveway, caused problems for firefighters getting to the blaze.
Luckily, no residents or firefighters were hurt in the fire. Fire investigators are not sure at this time if anyone was home at the time of the fire.
Cochran explained why firefighters worked for so long to extinguish the flames.
“The hidden fires and the spot fires are going to become a challenge once we get the main body of the fire knocked down. We’ll probably be here all night,” Cochran said.
Hull said they plan to rebuild.
"We don't have a plan at the time, but you are gong to rebuild, we are," Hull said.
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