Abandoned Housing Concerns

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Fire officials are concerned for the safety of fire fighters when they enter abandoned buildings.

Often times, the structures are not sound, which means there is an increased likelihood of injuries when putting out fires in those buildings.

Fortunately, no one was injured in Wednesday’s fire.

However, the incident is bringing attention to an issue fire fighters are facing more frequently.

Dothan fire fighters are facing more obstacles than just fire when they arrive at a scene. More frequently, dilapidated buildings are catching on fire, posing a problem for fire fighters and nearby residents.

Fire Marshall Danny Appling with the Dothan Fire Department says, "They're dangerous to the community and to personnel of the fire department and are very much at risk in these types of buildings."

City of Dothan officials are working to make sure dilapidated homes are torn down to help decrease the number of fires and crime in the area."

"Number one, if it's dilapidated we are tearing it down so it will be safe and won't be a nuisance in the neighborhood," says Amos Newsome, commissioner of District 2.

Abandoned homes are an ideal location for drug activity to take place and fire officials say many times, drugs are the cause of fires in dilapidated structures.

Captain Chris Etheredge with the Dothan Fire Department explains, "We have homelessness and drug problems; we have an additional problem with fire."

The city has already starting bulldozing property deeded unlivable and plans to continue its efforts to clean up the city.

Within the next 60 to 90 days, the city of Dothan will be tearing down 12 dilapidated houses in District 2.

Commissioner Newsome hopes to continue improving the look of his district to help prevent further decline of neighborhoods in the city.

The city is required to give property owners ample time to repair a home before it is actually torn down.