Fire forces two dozen out of temporary homes -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fire forces two dozen out of temporary homes

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –Fire at a battered women's shelter in Valdosta forced two dozen women and children from their temporary homes.

The fire at the Haven caused enough damage that the building is uninhabitable and Monday the community's help is needed.

Twelve women and children were evacuated when a fire started in a bedroom at the Haven Sunday night.

"They're here for safety and security and when something unfortunate like that happens, they have to be uprooted to go somewhere else but our number one goal as every shelter in Georgia is too keep them safe and secure," said Michelle Girtman, the executive director of the Haven.

The Valdosta Fire Chief believes the blaze started from a cigarette.

"They possibly tried to through it out the window but it didn't go out it," said Chief J.D. Rice. "It hit the ceiling or something and fell. The occupant probably thought it went outside but it didn't."

There's water and structure damage. The building is repairable but the Haven needs help assisting these women and also for the new shelter they're trying to build.

"We haven't received anything as of yet but I'm sure the community will reach out and help," said Girtman.

The building did have a sprinkler system inside.

"The fire department had a quick knock down quick response," Chief Rice. "I can't stress the importance of having a fully sprinkled building."

The chief says no one was injured.

If you want to help out the Haven, call 244-1765.

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