Fire destroys historic home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fire destroys historic home

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January 14, 2006

Albany-- The Albany Fire Department is investigating what may have caused a house fire in a South Albany neighborhood. Flames engulfed a home on West Lincoln Avenue. That same home was once damaged by a tornado, then rebuilt. Now, flames have destroyed what family members call a piece of history.

Just after 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, firefighters responded to a home in the 500 block of West Lincoln Avenue. "Heavy smoke, house full of smoke and wind blowing hard, couldn't hardly see really when you got there," says Albany Fire Department Batallion Chief Arthur Dyer. Heavy smoke and flames made it hard for firefighters to get inside the home.

"We kept trying to get in to put it out but it was so bad we couldn't get in," says Dyer. Now the outside is destroyed, a structure that once held history.

"At one time, this was years and years ago, this was the home where Joe Louis and people like Mahalia Jackson would come. That was during the time before they were able to go into hotels," says Mary Carnegie. The home is owned by the Carnegies. Years ago, Mary Carnegie's mother-in-law offered boarders a safe place to stay.

"It's so sad because right now we had a lot history in that house. We had papers and documents," says Carnegie. She finds it hard to believe that the once safe haven is now a different sight. "I felt like fainting because it was something I never thought would happen. We were just in the midst of having a family meeting," says Carnegie.

Family members were planning to make repairs to begin renting the home. Now they'll have to rebuild. "We will have to call the family members together, have a meeting and make some decisions from there," says Carnegie.

"It's always bad when you lose one but we tried everything we could to save it," says Dyer.

The home already survived a tornado and now years later, the family hopes history will be strong enough to fight against the flames.

The home has been vacant for  months so no one was inside. After investigations, fire officials will determine what started the blaze.

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