ALBANY, GA (WALB) - For the first time since the deadly fire at the old Albany Theatre, we're finally hearing from ADICA's current executive director.
ADICA, or the Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority, owns that building where Michael Jason Lewis, 41, died on January 24.
WALB News 10's Catherine Patterson sat down with Albany's Interim Downtown Manager Jacquelyn Teemer, who is serving as ADICA's executive director, to see how often ADICA checks on its properties to ensure they're secure and safe.
Teemer has been the interim downtown manager for about a week.
Before that, ADICA Director Latoya Cutts served in that role.
Teemer said ADICA hasn't been in the practice of documenting every time it visits a property, so she couldn't say the last time someone checked on the old Albany Theatre before it went up in flames.
But Teemer said that responsibility shouldn't just lie on one authority or entity.
WALB requested documents from ADICA to find out how often it checks on its properties. We were told by the city attorney's office, that there are no responsive documents showing the dates ADICA checked on the old Albany Theatre before it caught fire the morning of January 24.
"That's just information that we don't have right now," said Teemer.
When we asked Teemer if ADICA did in fact check on its properties, we were told they do periodically.
"When we have developers that are interested in viewing the properties, or when there are possible development opportunities, then we'll go and show the properties to whoever that potential business owner or developer is. And it happens periodically," explained Teemer.
Teemer said she is not aware of the last time ADICA checked on the old Albany Theatre on North Jackson Street.
The building caught fire after Albany firefighters say a lit cigarette was thrown onto the roof and caught trash on fire.
Michael Jason Lewis died of soot and smoke inhalation.
Three other people, believed to be living in the building, were rescued.
"We'll definitely take a more active stance in making sure that the building is secured, as we've done since the fire," said Teemer.
Teemer said that over the years, the building has been difficult to secure. She said since the fire, and since they've secured the building, there have been additional break-ins.
"I think the bigger issue here is that we need to find ways, the community needs to find ways, to address our homeless issue and make sure that the homeless here have adequate places to go at night," said Teemer.
Going forward, Teemer said ADICA will work more with Code Enforcement and that the buildings will be visited periodically.
When asked how often Teemer expects ADICA to check on its properties, she said she will have a discussion with the board members to decide.