East Albany home torched by vagrants - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

East Albany home torched by vagrants

By Cade Fowler - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The charred evidence of vagrancy is everywhere inside a burned out abandoned home in the 200 block of Delta Street. Blankets, pillows, peanut butter jars, and mattresses are strewn about the smoke damaged den. It's an indoor camp ground that had gone undetected until it caught fire Monday afternoon.

"It's an intentionally set fire. The person that did the damage to the structure had no reason to damage another's property," said Albany Fire Investigator Sam Harris.

Firefighters found flames and smoke shooting from the vacant brick home around 3 o'clock. Arson investigators quickly determined a cooking fire on the floor caused the blaze.

"They'll start fires anywhere, like on the floor. Across the room was a perfectly good fire place for cooking something but yet they still do it," said Harris.

But what some might find both surprising and disturbing is that vagrants were not only living inside the house, but underneath it as well.

"We found the bedding in the crawl space and we're down there searching to make sure there is no one under there. It's a really tough situation when we respond to these fires where we have to be concerned about not only our safety, but where the vagrants and where the homeless are located within the structure," said Harris.

A search found no one in or underneath the home but fire officials want residents who live near vacant homes to call police or code enforcement if they see anyone going in or out.

Fire officials say vagrants are responsible for about 20 percent of the fires they're called to.


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