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Blaze destroys medical building

By Mike Morris and John Spink - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution



A fire early Friday destroyed a medical office building in Alpharetta. No one was injured.

The two-story brick Coventry Professional Building in the 12000 block of Crabapple Road near Arnold Mill Road housed several medical and dental offices, including the Roswell Pediatric Center.

“We really can’t tell what all businesses were in there, because they are simply gone,” said George Gordon, spokesman for the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety.

Laurie Viebrock, the practice administrator at Roswell Pediatric Center, which has two other area offices, said staff members were contacting patients to “let people know what’s happened and get them seen at one of the other offices.”

She had high praise for firefighters who were able to salvage vaccines.

“We had a couple of refrigerators full of childhood vaccines that the firemen went in and retrieved for us and put the refrigerators on generators to keep temperatures stable,” Viebrock said. “Pediatrics is keeping kids healthy, and vaccines are a part of it. It was really nice to be able to get them and transfer them to other offices.”

Gordon said a 911 caller reported the fire about 3:30 a.m.

“The city of Milton had the nearest fire station, so they responded very quickly and immediately realized they had a significant large structure fire.” After additional alarms, 25 firefighters from Milton and Alpharetta fought the blaze.

“The key here was the cities of Milton and Alpharetta have erased jurisdictional boundaries,” Gordon said.

Flames that had reached 50 to 100 feet were knocked down by 5 a.m., as firefighters continued to pour water on the building, behind the landmark red and tan silos in the Crabapple community.

“We have a roof collapse,” Gordon said. “They are shoring up the four walls to make sure they are structurally sound, and are putting out hot spots throughout the building before the fire marshals can get in to begin their investigation.”

Viebrock said the fire made her thankful for electronic records. Without them, “you’d have probably 30,000 patient records in there to try and figure out. So yeah, I’m a big believer at this moment in electronic health records.”

Noting the building didn’t appear “salvageable at all, ” Viebrock said, “People have worked here for 10, 15, 20 years, and it’s a home, so it’s sad. It’s very sad.”

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