Old triplex goes up in flames - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Old triplex goes up in flames

By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Fire isn't usually considered to be a good thing, but the destruction of one old triplex in east Albany is being celebrated by both neighbors and firefighters.

Over the years, this modest triplex at 208 Frost Street has seen a lot of mornings just like this one, and a lot of families have called this place home. Lately there's been a different group of people living here.

"This property has been used as a drug haven for drugs, gangs and other activities," said Ward 1 Commissioner Jon Howard.

Its glory days long past, this building was condemned by Code Enforcement almost a year ago. But in the true spirit of recycling, the Albany Fire Department saw this not as a trap, but as an opportunity.

Friday morning marked the beginning of the end for 208 Frost Street. AFD was about to use it for training.

"They're getting to actually put their skills to use," said Capt. Sam Harris of the Albany Fire Department.

Thursday, they prepared for the burn by making what's known as a trench cut in the roof.

"That acts like a chimney," said Harris. "It pulls the smoke and hot gases to that area and they escape into the atmosphere. And by doing that it's easier to control the fire."

They have to be careful here. After all the neighbors aren't that far away; only twenty five feet.

And the care that they take is shown by the fact that the fire itself was supposed to happen yesterday, but nature gave this building a reprieve. "It was because it was too windy," said Harris.

But the reprieve only lasted one day. At first the old building was stubborn and the fire small, but eventually it was fully engulfed in flames. While these kind of burns are dangerous, the Albany Fire Department has had some practice at this over the last month.

"This is our fourth prescribed burn," said Harris.

As it burned, the neighbors looked on. Most of them were happy to see this building gone.

"It certainly will make this neighborhood a much safer and better place," said Howard.

And this house where children once learned their school lessons taught one final lesson. This time for the firefighters. 

Commissioner Howard says that the next step for 208 Frost Street is to have the debris cleared and a lien placed on the property. After that, it may become green space.

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