Firefighters with Rockdale County Fire and Rescue were called to this house at 1573 Mountain View Circle NE Tuesday morning after a passerby saw it was on fire. Inside the house firefighters found the bodies of an elderly woman and man. The victims' identities had not been released as of presstime. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS — An elderly man and woman were found dead inside a burning house in the 1500 block of Mountain View Circle shortly before noon Tuesday.
Michael Morris, spokesman for Rockdale County Fire and Rescue, said firefighters were called to the small ranch house at 1573 Mountain View Circle N.E. after a passerby reported the flames. The first firefighters on the scene discovered the bodies of the two victims.
According to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, the victims were identified as Peggy Stanich, 78, and Frank Bitterman II, 68. The two apparently shared the house.
"The first arriving engines were able to go in and do their primary search and found the first female victim in the living room area," Morris said. "As they continued their primary search they were able to find a male victim in the bedroom."
Morris said it was not known how the fire started. Because it was called in by a passerby, "There's no way to determine how long the fire had been burning before it was called in," he said.
The house sustained significant fire damage to 20 or 30 percent of the structure, with heavy smoke damage throughout, Morris said. He said firefighters were able to get the blaze under control in 10 to 15 minutes. Four engines and a ladder squad responded to the call.
Morris said state Fire Marshal's Office personnel were on the scene Tuesday afternoon, as well as personnel from the Rockdale County Coroner's Office and officers from the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office.
It was not known if the house was equipped with smoke detectors, Morris said, adding that the house did not have a sprinkler system.
No firefighters were injured in the incident.