Burned house blamed on vagrants breaking the law - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Burned house blamed on vagrants breaking the law

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany Firefighters are prepared for more fires as vagrants use dangerous methods to stay warm.

A large, vacant Albany house was destroyed by fire early Thursday morning. Investigators say vagrants rigged the power box to get electricity, then a space heater sparked the blaze.

Emergency responders worry people will be killed by stealing electricity to stay warm in this dangerous cold.

The house in the 200 block of West Second Avenue is a complete loss. It was supposedly vacant, with no power. Investigators say vagrants put a metal bridge in the meter box to jump the electricity back on. Pieces of a heater show it shorted out, sparking the blaze.

Albany Fire Department Investigator Sam Harris said "The retainer ring for the space heater. There is the wire that runs into the space heater."

The vacant house next door also had a tampered meter box, and inside a bed where people were sleeping.

WG&L Investigator Mickey Bradford said, "They are just trying to survive, but they are risking their lives to do it."

WG&L employees wear protective gear when working with power meters, because deadly levels of electricity flow here.

 "We have special gloves and hard hats that we wear in case you have a cross feed when you are plugging a meter in . And if the meter blows back on you," Bradford said.

This morning's fire not only endangered the vagrants inside, but also the firefighters battling it, and other homes in the neighborhood. And firefighters say they anticipate more in these next two frigid days.

 "You can almost predict an increase in fires. And of course we have another couple of days of this type of temperature, which is going to add to the problem," Fire Chief James Carswell said.

Cold so brutal that some South Georgians are willing to risk their lives to steal electricity and run heaters to warm up.

First responders are urging the homeless and vagrants to go to shelters for warmth tonight. And they ask homeowners who see suspicious activity at vacant houses to call 911.



Copyright  2015 WALB.  All rights reserved.

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Police respond to robbery by snatching at Albany package store

    Police respond to robbery by snatching at Albany package store

    Saturday, March 25 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-03-26 03:32:15 GMT

    Albany Police have responded to a robbery by snatching at the National Package Store on Oakridge Drive. Dispatch has confirmed the call came in just before 8 p.m. Saturday, and the suspect fled the scene.

    More >>

    Albany Police have responded to a robbery by snatching at the National Package Store on Oakridge Drive. Dispatch has confirmed the call came in just before 8 p.m. Saturday, and the suspect fled the scene.

    More >>
  • "The Voice" contestant J Chosen helps community at Albany Strong Fun Fest

    "The Voice" contestant J Chosen helps community at Albany Strong Fun Fest

    Saturday, March 25 2017 10:32 PM EDT2017-03-26 02:32:57 GMT
    (Source: WALB)(Source: WALB)

    The focus Saturday was on taking a break from storm cleanup and recovery, and to have a little bit of fun at the Albany Strong Fun Fest. The festival happened all day, with bands hitting the stage from 12:30 to 7 p.m.

    More >>

    The focus Saturday was on taking a break from storm cleanup and recovery, and to have a little bit of fun at the Albany Strong Fun Fest. The festival happened all day, with bands hitting the stage from 12:30 to 7 p.m.

    More >>
  • Former America's Got Talent finalist visits Albany for "Seniors on the Runway"

    Former America's Got Talent finalist visits Albany for "Seniors on the Runway"

    Saturday, March 25 2017 9:46 PM EDT2017-03-26 01:46:19 GMT
    (Source: WALB)(Source: WALB)

    A big voice with roots in South Georgia visited Albany this weekend. Quintavious Johnson placed fifth on America's Got Talent back in 2014. He has family who lives here in Albany.

    More >>

    A big voice with roots in South Georgia visited Albany this weekend. Quintavious Johnson placed fifth on America's Got Talent back in 2014. He has family who lives here in Albany.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly