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Fire Destroys Group Home



East Palatka- Eight residents and the staff of a Putnam County group home escaped unharmed from a morning fire that destroyed the residence on Tuesday.

At approximately 9 A.M. Tuesday, Putnam County firefighters were called to the O'Carroll Group Home on Commercial Avenue in East Palatka after nearby residents observed smoke coming from the roof. As firefighters and deputies arrived, a fire in the third-floor attic area was quickly discovered.

The Division of State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and the Putnam County Fire and Sheriff's departments conducted a joint investigation into the cause of the fire. Due to the extensive damage, the official cause of the fire will be listed as undetermined. "After interviewing all witnesses to the events of the blaze and evaluating the spread of the fire, arson is not suspected as a cause," said Investigator Bernie Kleinschmidt of the State Fire Marshal's Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations.

The three-story O'Carroll Group Home housed eight disabled persons.