Neighbors Worried After Abandoned Subdivision Blaze

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By Alabama News Network

Neighbors are concerned about the future of an empty subdivision on Air Base Boulevard. 

 
This after a fire tore through a group of abandoned homes leaving heavy damage to the area.
 
It's hard to tell the difference between the homes damaged by fire and those just sitting vacant. 
 
This was a particularly difficult fire for emergency crews, and that's just one reason neighbors are worried. 
 
The blaze destroyed about 5 homes as firefighters fought back the flames.
 
No one was hurt, but Director of Public Safety Chris Murphy says it was one of the worst that the city has seen in a long time. 
 
There were several problems that brought crews back to the scene for practice.
 
"Because the water grid is cut off in this abandoned area that used to be military, they had to go a lot longer for the fire hydrant and they didn't have multiple fire hydrants like you do in most of our neighborhoods. So they had to go 14, 15 hundred feet to get to the fire. The second things is you had multiple structures burning," said Murphy. 
 
The smoke was visible all the way from the interstate.
 
A wall runs around the entire property, but neighbors still watched closely.
 
"Half of the project ran over there trying to see what was going on."
 
Kenneth Johnson and his son Fernandez have lived by the abandoned lot for years. They say it worries the entire community. 
 
"It does. It needs to be taken care of. Not just so much for fires but for endangerment of little kids and stuff to by it being abandoned," said Johnson.
 
The possibility of children caught in the fire was very much on the minds of emergency crews as well yesterday. 
 
The city is working to demolish more structures on the west side, but so far this one isn't on the list. 
 
"It's always much more of a risk. The likelihood that somebody is in there is greatly decreased. But it's still fire and rescue, so we have to go in there and make sure it's not a homeless person in there or kids in there. Personal safety is always first," said Murphy. 
 
Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire. 
 

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