ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Firefighters believe vagrants are responsible for a vacant house fire that started around 2 Monday morning. Firefighters believe as the cold temperatures linger, more and more homeless men and women will seek shelter for warmth.
Firefighters battled the cold and flames as they put out hot spots at 606 West 1st Avenue.
"Preliminary cause indicates we had a fire in the fireplace that looks like it rolled out," said Battalion Chief Keith Ambrose.
The house had been vacant for several months. But firefighters believe freezing temperatures sent vagrants inside looking for warmth.
"You've got boarded up windows, this front door was open when we arrived. You've got a couple grocery carts from local grocery stores. A lot of different beer cans and bottles were inside," he said.
Vagrants had also set up sofas and chairs and mattresses inside.
"As the weather starts getting colder and as the cold as it is tonight you're going to have more and more vagrants looking for a place to stay warm," said Chief Ambrose.
"This has been a bad area. The city has done us a favor by tearing down at least six of these vacant homes," said Battalion Chief Matthew Jefferson.
But there are still more vacant homes attracting homeless men and women. And as long as it's cold, firefighters predict they'll work several fires like this one throughout the winter months.