A Wednesday fire in Gum Branch left a family of three homeless. The fire broke out shortly after 3:30 p.m. at 103 Dolly Jane Drive, according to Gum Branch Volunteer Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Charles Helton. John Barnard and his two teenage sons live at the residence but were not home at the time of the fire.
When firefighters arrived, portions of the home were engulfed in flames. Helton said about 70 percent of the dwelling was damaged, including the kitchen and living room. The carport also was destroyed
Units from Hinesville, Riceboro and Long County were called in to help get the fire under control.
Liberty County Fire Coordinator James Ashdown said the fire, which is believed to have been electrical, likely started in the carport.
“The home did not have electricity and the family was using an extension from a neighbor to bring power to the residence,” Ashdown said. He said he found up to 15 extension cords plugged into one another throughout the home.
In May 2007, the home was torched by John Barnard’s estranged wife, Julie Barnard, who poured an accelerant throughout the family’s mobile home while her husband and four children slept. Julie Barnard currently is serving 25 years for that incident.