"Suspicious" fire guts South Columbus home

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  From blackened windows and door frames to soot and ashes, the damage is undeniable.

A shell is all that remains of this Benning Hills home on Collins Drive not far off of Victory Drive after flames gobbled up the one story wood frame just before noon Wednesday.

"When the first unit got here, the house pretty much totally involved. Flames were coming out most of the windows and it broke through the roof in the back," said Battalion Chief Bryan Watson of Columbus Fire and EMS.

As smoke billowed into neighbors' windows they hoped the flames wouldn't spread to their homes.

"All I know, I was sitting in my living room and saw smoke out the back. When I went to the door, I just saw flames and smoke," Katherine Johnson said.

"I had one daughter laying in bed and I went in to fold laundry and another daughter came in to my room and heard a pop noise. She opened my blinds and that's when we saw all of the smoke. I pulled my kids out of the house, I pulled my pets out," added Tamra Williams.

Fire officials are in the beginning phases of their investigation, working to determine the cause of the fire and where it started.

At this point, they're calling it suspicious since the first firefighters on the scene found the front door wide open and no one was home at the time.

Neighbors say the homeowner has been helping a relative move.

"It's sad looking at it because I think it could have been mine," Williams added.

As fire investigators work to determine the cause, Coverage You Can Count On will continue to bring you the latest on this case.

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