Firefighters probe cause of Albany house fire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters probe cause of Albany house fire

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By Cade Fowler - bio | email

February 9, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Plumes of heavy smoke shot high into the air early Thursday morning from the roof of a home at 627 West First Avenue.

"Upon arrival we found the north end of the structure was on fire. We pulled some attack lines to control the fire," said AFD Battallion Chief Mike Styles.

Firefighters battled the early morning blaze from outside and inisde the vacant home as heavy flames spread throughout the house which burned for more than an hour. Neighbors spotted the flames and called 911. While no one was one was currently living at this address, it still isn't clear if someone was inside when the fire started.

"Right now it's still under investigation. The meter was red tagged. We havent found anyone at this time but we're going to do a secondary search to make sure no one was inside," says Styles. 

With several boarded-up, vacant homes along this stretch of First Avenue, concern is that someone might have sought refuge inside this home to escape frgid tempratures which dipped into the lower 20s.

"We want to advice anyone not to use any sort of ignition source to stay warm. Try using some of the shelters to stay warm at night," Styles said.

Fire inspectors will now conduct a further investigation into the cause. The home is a complete loss.

Neighbors say the home owner moved out of the home three weeks ago. They also tell us that it is not uncommon for vagrants to seek shelter in the vacant or abandoned homes in the area.

Fire officials urge anyone who sees someone enterning an abandoned building to contact Albany Code Enforcement.

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