Two vacant house fires in Charleston in less than 24 hours

CHARLESTON, Wv. (WSAZ) -- John Thomas bought his home on Beech Avenue in Charleston 11 years ago, but instead of enjoying the neighborhood he grew up in, he says he's watched it go downhill.

"This is home for me but I’ve never been in a neighborhood that fell so quickly like this,” Thomas said.

Monday evening a fire broke out at an abandoned home right behind his on Adele Street and he says this isn't the first time this has happened so close to home.

"But that makes the third one in this neighborhood since February,” he said.

The first fire happened in February on the 1000 block of Beech Ave. The vacant home was destroyed from the fire, and it spread to a home someone was living in next door.

Another fire happened in late April directly across the street from where the first fire was.
Click here for those stories.

The increase in abandoned house fires has caused him to take extra precautions.

"It's a constant worry, I’ve left the garden hose outside with instructions with my wife that's home how to hose our house down,” Thomas said.

It’s also a worry for Nathan Hess and his wife who recently moved into their home on Adele St. The home that burned on Monday is practically in their back yard.

"My wife and I had just gotten back from grocery shopping and noticed that there was some smoke coming from the back of the house,” Hess said.

They say squatters have been a constant problem since they moved in, and they were worried the fire would spread to their house.

"First reaction was to make sure it wasn't coming from our house, make sure it was coming from somewhere else,” he said.

Tuesday morning a fire blazed through an abandoned home on Keller Drive in Charleston right near an Appalachian Power site. Click here for that story.

With an increase in vacant house fires, Charleston Fire Department Captain Rick Cottrell says they also pose a great risk to firefighters.

"The fire attacks the house and it's not going to take as long for it to collapse or you could fall through a floor,” Cottrell said.

Both Thomas and Hess are hoping the homes that have caught on fire are torn down soon to avoid any more fires or possible injuries.

"I think it's the worst thing that could ever happen to the neighborhood,” Thomas said.

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