Columbus homes in weekend fire torn down

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 8:11 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Officials say use of alternative ways to stay warm inside is responsible for a recent string of fires throughout the Fountain City. Several of those fires just happened last week.

Huge piles of debris are all that are left after several homes caught over the weekend near 32nd Street and 2nd Avenue.

“The first two structures were on fire and there was no official occupant at this location,” said Columbus Fire Department Chief John Shull.

However, Chief Shull says that fire quickly spread causing damage to a third home.

“There were no official occupants but whether or not somebody was here during the time, we don’t know that,” said Chief Shull.

Because the fire is still under investigation, it’s unclear why the six homes are being torn down. Ryan Pruett, Director of Code Enforcement says there is no demolition order in place for this address.

So, how often are homes catching on fire? A spokeswoman for The Columbus Chapter of the American Red Cross says they’ve noticed a spike since the start of the pandemic, causing them to respond to one fire each day.

“Usually 50 to 60 percent of those are in the Muscogee County area,” said Adelaide Kirk, executive director of the Red Cross of Southwest Georgia.

Columbus Chief Shull adds, since the start of the year, there have been 24 structure fires. As for the cause, Kirk says it has to do with more people staying at home.

“70 percent of people will say, when surveyed, that they have walked away from the stove with something on it,” said Kirk.

So, obviously, you shouldn’t leave food unattended while cooking.

Here’s other common sense advice on how to avoid house fires:

“Space heaters are very common and most people don’t think it needs to be placed on a hard, flat surface and needs to be plugged directly into the wall, not an extension cord,” said Kirk.

“Make sure your cleaning out your chimneys if you have a fireplace,” said Chief Shull. “That needs to be done on an annual basis.”

Another woman was injured in a fire on Monday near 2nd avenue on Oats Avenue. Chief Shull says that woman is still in the hospital.

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