Americus home, business burn hours apart - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Americus home, business burn hours apart

Willie Lockhart's apartment was severly damaged by the fire that started at his neighbor's apartment after 1 a.m. Thursday morning. (Source: WALB) Willie Lockhart's apartment was severly damaged by the fire that started at his neighbor's apartment after 1 a.m. Thursday morning. (Source: WALB)
Within 20 minutes of firefighters arriving at Caravelle Powerboats, the fire was out. (Source: WALB) Within 20 minutes of firefighters arriving at Caravelle Powerboats, the fire was out. (Source: WALB)
AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

Americus firefighters battled two fires within hours of each other.

One of them destroyed a duplex, leaving two families homeless.

Willie Lockhart's apartment was severely damaged by the fire that started at his neighbor's apartment after 1 a.m. Thursday morning.

"The lady, she is blind. And how they made it out, I don't know," said Lockhart.

Their smoke detectors were working inside the duplex, just like the sprinkler system at Caravelle Powerboats in Americus.

Just eight hours earlier, at 5:30 in the evening the paint room caught fire.

Pictures from the fire department showed the story of the damage.

"I'm a firm believer in sprinkler systems because if we didn't have sprinkler systems it would have probably burnt down," said Chief Alan Erkhart.

Within 20 minutes, the fire was out, contained to one section of the building, far away from the boats.

"I had investigators go out there last night and this morning and we think it was caused by a forklift and it was about $75,000 worth of damage to it," said Erkhart.

And across town, at the duplex, properly operational smoke detectors alerted two families to the early morning fire.

Lockhart says he lost everything he has in the fire, but he is grateful everyone is ok.

The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for the families who lost their homes.

The Americus Fire Department supplies smoke detectors and batteries for people in the city.

They will even come to your home to install them and change the batteries.

For more information on this program, you can contact the Americus Fire Department at 229-924-3213.

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