City of Albany, ADICA comment on deadly fire at old Albany Theatre

Updated: Jan. 29, 2018 at 4:33 PM EST
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Phyllis Banks (Source: WALB)
Phyllis Banks (Source: WALB)
One person died of smoke and soot inhalation (Source: WALB)
One person died of smoke and soot inhalation (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The City of Albany is speaking for the first time nearly five days after a fire killed one person inside a city-owned vacant building.

Wednesday, Michael Jason Lewis, 41, died from smoke and soot inhalation after the old Albany Theatre went up in flames.

ADICA, or Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority, owns the building, which was vacant at the time of the fire.

In a statement made by Public Information Officer Phyllis Banks, the city of Albany and ADICA consider the recent deadly fire an unfortunate tragedy.

She said the city and ADICA are currently working together to make sure the building is kept secure, by continuously checking the building, and if any breaches are found, they will be repaired in a timely manner.

"What we need is a shoulder to shoulder stance with the business community as well as our residents," said Banks. "If they see anything suspicious around the building or any vacant buildings, they need to report that activity to authorities because we don't want something like this to happen again. The city is making conscious efforts to make sure particularly this building is well secured and that no unlawful entry will be made."

Banks said it took the city some time to gather all the information needed before providing an adequate statement.

She went on to say the city and ADICA are both aware of the homeless issue in the city and encourages people who find themselves without shelter to contact the numerous available resources like the Salvation Army.

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