Viewpoint: Vagrants and Fires

The Albany Fire department has been getting a real workout this winter, and part of that we can blame on vagrants starting fires to stay warm.

Firefighters believe vagrants started the fire that destroyed the old Cab Stand.

Vagrants are blamed for setting the fire that destroyed a home on West First Avenue.
A vacant apartment at 712 McKinley was destroyed when vagrants started a fire in the kitchen sink for warmth.

A brick duplex on West Tift Avenue was under renovation until it was burned by vagrants. The owner says the problem with them breaking into his properties has been going on for some time.

In an effort to keep people out of Albany's vacant buildings Code Enforcement director Mike Tilson says he has made it a top priority to make sure they're properly boarded up.

But with 70 active registrations in Albany, some of them multiple properties, bringing these building up to standard is not always easy.

We commend the effort, and say that code enforcers, property owners, the police department, and the fire department need to work together diligently to put a stop to vagrants causing such havoc.
The weather is soon to stop some of these fires, but it will get cold again soon enough, and we hope that by then, vagrants will have a tougher time getting inside vacant buildings.