Abandoned house set on fire

Published 12:21 pm Monday, October 30, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
An abandoned house at the corner of Jones Street and Moseley Street in Atmore is believed to been set on fire last Tuesday night.
Smoke from the fire, which broke out around 9:30 p.m., was deceiving to rescue personnel and motorists passing through Atmore via Hwy. 31. Despite big puffs of black smoke filling the air, the fire was not fully engulfed like originally believed and was relatively easy, according to Atmore Fire &Rescue chief Gerry McGhee, to contain.
"It looked like somebody set it on fire, but we don't know who did it," McGhee said. "We can't say for sure if it was arson or accidental."
According to McGhee, the house had not had power or natural gas run to it in several years, which leads him to believe that the fire was set. He also said during this time of year, people begin to occupy abandoned structures throughout town.
"Especially when it starts getting cold and you have a lot of abandoned houses, that's why the city is trying to get rid of them," McGhee said. "We have a lot of homeless people looking for a place to stay and people who do drugs going into these abandoned houses."
Upon the arrival of rescue personnel, flames could be seen coming from the roof and windows of the aging structure, but McGhee said the fire was not as involved as it first appeared.
"They (firefighters) knocked it down real quick," he said. "There was hardly any damage. We had a good response."
Fourteen firemen responded to the blaze. McGhee said all Atmore fire personnel are called when dispatchers' tone out a fire call as "fully involved".
"They called out as a structure fire totally involved, so we went ahead and paged out to our volunteers and career firefighters off duty," he said.
Atmore Police Department and Kelley's Ambulance also responded to the fire.
McGhee urges any residents who witness activity in an abandoned house to call the Atmore Police Department. He also said "to his knowledge" the abandoned house, which did not have a street address, was not on the Atmore City Council's list of structures to be demolished.

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