DEARING --- H. Peter Bolia watched his Randall Road rental property burn as McDuffie County Fire Service crews and state of Georgia forestry crews contained the fire in the surrounding brush.
Bolia, who owned the property at the north end of Randall Road, said the tenants were leaving the house before the Aug. 31 fire.
Other tenants had planned to move in Sept. 1. They would not get the chance.
No one was injured.
By 3:30 that Wednesday afternoon, only charred portions of the walls remained of the home that Bolia had built in 1992. About 15 fire personnel tried to drown the flames. Two cars parked adjacent to the home were damaged, along with two motors and a riding lawn mower.
Bolia, who was among the first on the scene, had rushed to free pets that were chained near the home. "We saved four dogs," he said. He turned the three larger dogs loose, and they wandered among the spectators and firefighters until volunteers from the McDuffie County Animal Shelter arrived to remove them. A smaller adult dog was secured to a cement block until it could be removed.
Bolia tried to rescue 11 puppies inside a chain-link fence near the burning home, but failed. "We couldn't get to them," he said.
McDuffie County Fire Service Assistant Chief Steven Sewell said the State Fire Marshal's Service was notified to assist with investigating the cause of the fire. On the scene as smoke and flames still swirled from the burned timbers, Sewell said it was too early to tell whether the fire had spread from the house to the brush, or from the brush to the house.