Study on rash of vacant house fires in Atlanta released -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Study on rash of vacant house fires in Atlanta released


Atlanta Fire Rescue Investigations Capt. James Oliver sat down with CBS46 reporter Vince Sims to discuss a recent rash of fires in vacant houses.

"There was a slight uptick of fires in the beginning of July," Oliver said. "But in the area, structure fires, as well as trash fires and car fires are pretty common."

A study provided to CBS46 proved that July had the most fires, with eight recorded. February came in second with six. The study focused on the Vine City neighborhood around Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard.

Click here to read the study.

The July increase did cause some concern among people living in the area.

"I'd probably think it's the owner trying to get money from the insurance," Qadir Shabazz said.

With so many happening in the area, the investigation unit decided to take another look at its cases.

"We just go back through and make sure we haven't missed anything," Oliver said.

Oliver said they didn't see anything pointing toward a serial arsonist. Numbers though do show this area annually has a number of fires.

In 2012 there were about 36 fires in the area. 2013 recorded nearly 98 fires. 2014 had the lowest number with about 25.

Fire engine 16 that covers that area is among the busiest engines in the city.

The study shows some clustering along Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard, but there are also a large number of vacant homes in that area. This causes a safety concern for people living in the area as well as responding firefighters.

"I don't know why they don't come tear them down," Ephraim Petty said.

People living in the area think they know how to fix this problem.

"I think the houses could be fixed up for the people less fortunate with the homeless or I think something could be done," Shabazz said.

The Georgia Arson Control offers a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for arson. The hotline number is 1-800-282-5804

To contact Atlanta Fire Rescue Department to set up a fire education and safety session at a facility in your community or to schedule a Smoke Alarm blitz, call 404-546-7000.

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