(MOBILE, Ala.) - A Thursday morning fire at a vacant home in Midtown Mobile damaged houses on either side of it, investigators said.
Mobile Fire-Rescue Spokesperson Steve Huffman said the fire was reported at 12:29 Thursday morning. Huffman said when firefighters arrived to 911 Selma Street, the house was fully involved in flames and spreading to other houses.
Huffman said nobody was injured in the blaze that gutted a home on 911 Selma Street. Huffman said, according to neighbors, the building had been vacant for at least 13 years.
Huffman said the department's Bureau of Fire Prevention is investigating what caused the fire, and where inside the vacant home the fire started.
Investigators said the three houses combined suffered $50,000 in damage.
"Last night, at the hotel, nobody got any sleep," Joseph George said. "Everybody was up worried about it."
Joseph George said he and his parents woke up this morning to neighbors banging on their front door.
"I was in my room," George said. "I didn't smell anything, so I jumped up, grabbed my school pants and ran to the kitchen. You could see nothing but red. The windows were red."
George said he saw the empty house next door up in flames.
"The whole roof of the house just caved in," George said. "We were standing across the street, and you could feel the heat really close to your face."
Investigators said both cars belonging to George's parents were damaged in the fire. A Chevrolet Impala still lays melted in the family's driveway.
"My dad, just in time, got in his truck and backed it out of the yard and that's when the roof caved in," George said.
Fire investigators said it is thanks to the two vehicles that George's house was spared this morning.
"The cars more or less protected it, but, on the other side, they had a little more extensive damage," spokesperson Steve Huffman said. "It actually got inside the house."
Huffman said the department's chaplain was called to the scene to assist the homeowner at 913 Selma Street with living arrangements.
Joseph George and his family hope that is the closest they get to a house fire.
"It's good that we still will be able to live in there after they get it repaired and all," George said.