DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The Dothan Fire Department responded to a boarded-up home on East Newton Street Monday night after receiving a call describing heavy flames and thick smoke coming from the structure.

Within minutes of arriving at the scene, the home had already suffered severe damage.

“When the first fire units got here we were in what we describe as a defensive operation, the roof and walls were starting to collapse that quickly,” Dothan Deputy Fire Chief, Chris Etheredge said.

Due to the structure being boarded up when first responders arrived, it is believed the home was abandoned.

But because of the extensive damage caused by the flames, Dothan fire was unable to give the all-clear. This fire is just one of the many abandoned building fires that the department has responded to in the last few weeks, which is causing more damage.

“The fact that some are in abandoned structures, it makes it a little longer for people to see it recognize it rather than in an occupied home,” Etheredge said. “So that part we are having a little more damage because it is not recognized as early.”

While the cause of the fire is still unknown, Etheredge says that arson is not off the table.

“We always consider the fact that it could be arson, especially in a structure like this that is vacant and boarded up,” Etheredge said.

Dothan fire is still investigating to determine the cause of the fire. Stay with WDHN for all of the latest updates.