Story by Megan Boatwright
Eyewitness News Reporter

ROSSIVLLE, WALKER COUNTY, GA. (WRCB)-- A North Georgia couple spent Monday sifting their burned home instead of spending the day out of town as planned.

Fire investigators think old wiring is to blame.

Mary and Dan Mills' neighbor called them as they pulled onto the highway headed to Atlanta.

That neighbor says the Mills thought he was joking when he told them their house was on fire.

"She thought that I was kidding her and so I finally told her I said Mary your house is on fire," says Charles Roddy, neighbor.

That's when Mary Mills hung up the phone and rushed back to the house she and her husband had just left safe and secure.

"It was jumping above the house several feet right in the middle," says Roddy.

The couple left before 5:00 Monday morning on a day trip to Atlanta. Fire officials say the house is an 80 percent loss.

They believe the fire actually started with the wiring in the heating system of the home. They believe two wires got crossed.

The fire actually started in the ceiling and by the time firefighters arrived on scene the roof was fully engulfed.

"They've been in the house most of the morning talking to fire officials. They've been right here on our driveway all morning," says Roddy.

Roddy spent the morning on his front yard too watching and waiting as fire fighters finally got the fire under control.

He plans to keep watch over the home while his friends figure out what do next.

"I'd be tore up like they are. They're pretty tore up. Dan stood here and said, ‘I just can't believe it'," says Roddy.

The homeowners were in the process of switching from that older wire model heating system to central heat and air.

They thought the old system had been completely disconnected, but fire officials are looking into that now.