DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — An investigation is underway into that abandoned building that went up into flames in downtown Dothan Monday afternoon.
“Within the next 24 to 48 hours we should have a good indication of the cause and origin of the fire our investigators have been working on it,” Chief Chris Etheredge said.
The fire department responded to a call of thick heavy smoke and flames coming out of the back of an abandoned building in the 200 block of West Main Street at the corner of Lena Street.
“We believe it was a vacant building and reported it to be a vacant building to go in looking for that life-saving factor to make sure no one is in there storing things or homeless or whatever the case may be,” Chief Etheredge said.
Cheif Etheredge said as firefighters were fighting the blaze, the fire intensified which slowed down their search. A bystander told the fire department there was a possibility of a homeless person being inside, but at this point, they haven’t located a person or if someone was inside they got out safely.
However, the building is typically known for the homeless population with it being located next to love in action ministries.
Derrick Oliver, the president of Southeast Alabama Coalition for Homeless said it’s more of a danger having homeless people live in abandoned buildings.
With plans to revitalize the downtown area in the next several years, it could affect areas where the homeless population resides. He hopes the city will keep in mind the less fortunate going forward.
“We’re looking at more emergency shelters more emergency housing because we don’t have any in this area and that way we can avoid a loss of life in one of these abandoned buildings in the downtown area,” He said.
Chief Etheredge said if your property is vacant, make sure it is secured in order to prevent future issues.
In the meantime, there are resources to help the homeless population such as Love in Action, The Harbor, and Living Hope to provide food, clothing and tents.