Fire danger rises as cold weather moves in - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Fire danger rises as cold weather moves in

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

This week's cold weather is bringing a fire danger. Firefighters say vacant house fires are a huge concern. They say the homeless sometimes start fires inside to stay warm and that raises the risk for those who live nearby.

It's a home surrounded by abandoned ones.

"Let's get real. Look at this. Who would want to live by this?" Ty Wallace, a neighbor said. "Their property value has dropped. They have a nice home and they're retirement age.  They can't get a value off of it because of this!"

For Ty Wallace's family, when the temperature goes down, danger goes up.

"I am concerned about their safety because they are older people," Wallace said. "They're both sickly. These fires, the smoke, it's coming in their house too."

"Two weeks ago there was another house fire," Deonte Perry, a neighbor said. "Someone threw a fire bomb through this house and it looks the way it looks now so it's really getting bad."

"It can spread to adjoining houses," Battalion Chief, C.W. Mardis said. "We have had a lot of people to get injured - innocents who were in exposures next to those burning structures."

Birmingham Battalion Chief C.W. Mardis says - so far this year his department has fought several fires and as winter approaches, the risk rises.

"There's always a big influx of fires in abandoned structures this particular time of year on up through February and March, actually," Mardis said.

In fact just Wednesday night - firefighters worked to keep flames from an abandoned house on Tuscaloosa Avenue from spreading to the apartments behind it.

"It's extremely dangerous, not only for our guys, but for the homeless people and the people who are perhaps staying next door and behind," Mardis said.

"Trying our best to get in touch with the city so if there's anyone who can come out and help or talk to us we need that help," Perry said.

We also contacted Councilor Shelia Tyson. She told us the recent Land Bank Authority will give the city more freedom  to address abandoned lots. 

Battalion Chief Mardis told us, the fire department is also speaking at neighborhood community meetings - warning residents who are in danger.


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