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Lanett Fire Department investigating fire

On Thursday, Sept. 23 at approximately 9:50 p.m. EDT, the Lanett Fire Department responded to a house fire at 7 SE 14th St in Lanett behind Kroger, according to Lanett Fire and Emergency Management Services Chief Johnny Allen. The fire was so severe that the house was a total loss.

“When my crews arrived, there was a house that was totally involved in flames,” he said. “And we had concerns about two exposures — one on the north side and one on the south side. Both of those houses plus one automobile received some damage. Not structural damage, not major damage, but they did receive some heat exposure damage.”

Allen said the Huguley Fire Department also responded to the fire as part of an automatic aid agreement. He explained that whenever the Lanett Fire Department is dispatched to a possible structure fire, the Huguley Fire Department is dispatched to the same location. The agreement also works the other way around.

“We caught a fire hydrant, and we were able to have enough water to try to control the initial house fire as well as cool the two exposures down so that they would not catch on fire,” he said.

Allen said nobody was in the house at the time.

“The house was vacant,” he said. “It had no utilities hooked up to it. It appeared to be that someone may have been squatting there. In other words, staying there [because] they didn’t have any other place to stay. Sometimes, those unfortunate people will find a vacant house or an abandoned property just to sleep in it, get themselves out of the weather.”

Allen emphasized that it hadn’t been confirmed that someone had been squatting at the house. He said the fire is under investigation.

“We are looking into some witness statements,” he said. “But it was so badly burned that it’s going to be a really difficult task to tell the exact cause.”