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Unforeseen Future for Burned Ponderosa Lane Home

It has been nearly 40 days since the house was fully engulfed in flames.

Kappy and Dennis Maton agree that the remnants of the burned home across the street from theirs on Ponderosa Lane are unsightly.

Charred items are piled in the yard, a destroyed truck sits among rubble and ash, and what appear to be a few purple paramedic gloves lay near the road.

“It looks like they would at least put something over it,” Mrs. Maton said.

Nearly 40 days ago, during the early morning hours of Jan. 24, the house at 3544 Ponderosa Lane in Powder Springs . When they were doused, 55-year-old Kathy R. Robertson was found dead inside.

Police say Robertson’s 51-year-old husband, Michael Rowe, for her death and the fire. He is being held at the Cobb County Jail without bond.

City Manager Rick Eckert called the burned house “a big mess.”

“It’s also a crime scene, so that compounds it,” he said.

Director Pam Conner said the house is being looked into, adding that she could not comment further because it’s a code enforcement case. She said she couldn’t provide a potential cleanup timeline because such a case has never happened in the city before.

City officials agree, though, that any type of action won't be immediate.

Terry Wooten, who does contract work with homes, lives a few houses down from the burned home. He said bulldozing is a possibility, but some of the remaining walls might be salvageable.

“I’ve seen them come in and gut them, leave the walls standing, and build right around it because some of the bricks aren’t hurt,” he said. 

Eckert said from his perspective, there’s not much that can be done with the house.

“It’s going to have to be demolished,” he said.

In the meantime, Mrs. Maton suggested a tarp or some type of covering be put over or around the remains because wind might blow loose objects or children might venture in.

“Little kids around here, they could be wandering” and walk into it, she said.

Conner said she would relay the idea to the city attorney.

Aside from being an eyesore, the Matons said they are overcome with an “eerie” feeling when they see the house.

“Every time I see it, I have a flashback,” said Mr. Maton, who awoke on Jan. 24 to what looked like a “big red ball.”

He had been having problems with his arm and was sleeping in the living room that night so he wouldn’t disturb his wife.

“When he hollered … I thought something was wrong with him,” Mrs. Maton said.

Mr. Maton said he began to move quickly.

He called 911 and rushed to the surrounding houses to wake his neighbors in case the fire spread, he said. The flames blackened part of the roof of the house to the left and burned limbs and leaves high into surrounding trees.

Firefighters arrived at 3:10 a.m., five minutes after receiving word about the emergency. Before seeing if anyone was inside, they had to first extinguish the large flames.

“[Robertson] was a sweet lady. I don’t know, it's just still—still bothering us,” Mrs. Maton said. “You don’t know. You wonder: ‘Was she dead before [the fire] happened.’ You’d like to know what you don’t know and why.”

For all coverage of this developing story, click here.

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