Apparent arson possibly related to shooting

By: Diane Cho Email
By: Diane Cho Email

March 29, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A massive fire engulfed three homes on Broad Street early this morning, and officials are saying it looks like the fire was started on purpose.

It happened around 5:15 a.m. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

This is an area even the neighbors who've lived here for several years admit is infamous for crime. But after a shooting last night followed by a suspicious house fire, neighbors are saying the crime is getting out of hand.

Dozens of firefighters and seven fire engines battled a massive fire on Broad Street that quickly spread to the homes nearby.

Firefighters say three homes in all were ravaged by the flames, and now three families are forced to start over.

"It's a shame that innocent people have to suffer because of other people's stupidity," said Nathaniel Clark, a family member of some of the victims.

Officials say the fire may have been related to a shooting that happened several hours earlier.

According to witnesses, two unidentified gunmen fired several shots from their truck at one of the homes using a semi-automatic gun.

Gimmie Minor says he was taking out the trash when he heard the bullets start flying.

"Senseless people out here who don't care about no one else," he said.

He says after the shots were fired, the people who lived in the home ran behind the Family Dollar store and took off before deputies were able to get there.

Lt. G.B. Hannan says the same gunman who pulled the trigger on Wednesday night may have come back to finish what they started. This time, instead of using gunfire, they used an ignitable liquid.

"People don't got anywhere to live but the streets now on account of some foolishness," Minor said. "Something needs to be done."

A hazmat truck was also on the scene this morning, just in case there were any chemicals in any of the homes.

Firefighters say only one of the apartments at the home had a smoke detector. The rest of them did not.

Again, though, no one was injured in this early morning fire.

Three families have been displaced, and as of now they're being helped by the American Red Cross.

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