UPDATE: Mississippi Ave. fire was arson

Update: Albany house fire believed to be arson

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Multiple units of the Albany Fire Department (AFD) responded to a home that caught fire Tuesday morning in the 1800 block of Mississippi Avenue, not far from the Flint River.

The initial call came in at 7:57 a.m., according to Phyllis Banks, Albany public information officer.

An unknown suspect started a vehicle fire at 1815 Mississippi Avenue, and that blaze spread, engulfing the residence, Banks said.

No one was hurt.

The Albany Police Department (APD) and AFD fire arson investigators responded, and the fire remains under investigation.

The next-door home was also impacted by the fire.

Family members inside of the home at the time of fire detailed their escape.

“In a matter of seconds, the house was on fire,” said Stephen Thomas, who helped his family escape the burning building.

Thomas said he had to move quickly, because when he woke up his home was completely engulfed in flames.

“Me and my niece had to wake up from our sleep and rush out the house. Everybody had to rush out the house.”

Thomas grabbed his four-year-old niece and rushed out the back door. He says his cousin grabbed her six-year-old son and quickly followed them to safety.

“She let me know what was going on. I thought she was joking. But she wasn’t joking. I wish she was joking.”

Albany Police Department Spokesperson said the fire was a result of arson. The police are now looking for the unknown person they say started the fire in the car a little after seven this morning. It then quickly spread to the two homes here.

“I said Grandma! I just saw a lot of smoke coming from that building,” said a neighbor, Ma’Kyler Mckinney.

Mckinney was walking in the neighborhood when she saw the home go up in flames.

“I’m happy nobody got hurt,” Mckinney said.

Eight people escaped the fire. Three APD officers pulled two people from the burning buildings. The others were able to run out of the homes before the fire trapped them inside.

“We didn’t even care about our belongings. We were trying to make sure my niece and my cousin got out, my little cousin,” Thomas said.

Almost all of their belongings were lost in the fire, but Thomas said the main thing, his family is safe.

“We all have our lives here. The possessions are minor. But as long as everyone has our lives here, that’s all that matters,” said Thomas.

The three APD officers were in the area following up reports of entering autos when they saw the vehicle fire spreading.

BREAKING: Albany Police Department is looking for a suspect who started a car fire on Mississippi Avenue this morning. It lead to a house fire, completely destroying one family’s belongings. Luckily, eight people were rescued and no one was harmed.

Posted by Grason Passmore WALB on Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Their quick action was responsible for saving eight people from the two home, Banks said.

The family is asking that if you’d like to donate any supplies, you contact the American Red Cross or the Greater 2nd Mt Olive Baptist Church.

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