Hyde Park vacant home fire possibly linked to vandals

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Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014

Fire on Golden Rod Street (WRDW-TV)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Fire officials say a house fire on Golden Rod Street is suspicious.

They say flames were shooting out the back of the home up to 30 to 40 feet in the air. It took them about 30 minutes to extinguish.

Even though no one was injured this isn't the first time the neighborhood of Hyde Park has seen this kind of destruction.

"Definitely suspicious situation that's going on," Lt. Neal Brown said.

Firefighters responded to a house fire last night. The back of the home was engulfed in flames. The property on Golden Rod Street is vacant, leading fire officials to sift through the damage and investigate the cause.

"There's no power to the property so there's just some red flags showing here," said Lt. Brown.

Officials say the fire started in the kitchen and dining room area.

"When firefighters arrived on scene the property was not secure doors were open. So anybody could have accessed it," Lt. Brown said.

Charred from the flames and now just ashes. The home was already supposed to be torn down, just not like this. It's been reported for years, Hyde Park plagued with contamination and all the houses are scheduled to be demolished.

"We're about to leave the nest. my family has been out in Hyde Park for 65 years," Joanne Jones said.

Workers cleaned up rubble from three torn down homes.
one neighbor says more vacant homes means more vandalism.

"Next door at my house has been vandalized. I've had stuff stolen and broken into several times," said resident Melvin Brooks.

"They just go in walls and tear and vandalize everything," Brooks said.

Melvin Brooks has lived in this neighborhood for more than 40 years,
and since everyone is being relocated he says he feels he's at a loss with all the vandalism.

"Nothings been done. There's nothing I can do about it," Brooks said.

Many homes have already been cleared out. Brooks says he's just waiting for his move. He says after the appraisal is finalized he'll have 90 days to call somewhere else home.

"I don't have a choice now. I wanted to stay my wife wanted to leave
but this has been going on for 40 some years but being that we have to leave I'm ready to go," Brooks said.

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