MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- Macon-Bibb County fire investigators are trying to determine what caused a house fire early Friday morning.
Friday's fire marks the second blaze on Third street this week. Arson investigators have worked six cases so far this year, three of them just this week alone. The fire department says over the years, they have not seen an increase in arson fires. But with the recent rash of blazes, the community is worried for its safety.
According to Sgt. Ben Gleaton, the case is being investigated as possible arson. The call came in around 5A.M. about a fire at 1864 Third Street.
"Flames, I'm talking whoosh!" Courtney Calloway said.
Calloway lives next door to the abandoned house that caught on fire. When she came home early Friday morning, she saw flames fill the air.
"It could have spread and hit our house," Calloway said. "Thank the Lord it didn't."
The blaze destroyed the back side of the home. As soot falls to the ground and the smell of smoke lingers, officials are adding this fire to the growing number of arson investigations this year.
"It definitely raises an eyebrow with all the few fires that we've had. The fact that they are in abandoned house structures so its definitely something to be concerned about," Macon-Bibb County Fire Chief Reco Stephens said. "People tend to navigate to those houses for shelter especially during the winter time. That's normally when they start small fires to keep warm and they end up leaving those fires unattended."
This comes after a fire on Monday morning, which was ruled arson.
"The only things they have in common right now are it happened around the same time as the last one, and they're about 7 blocks apart," Gleaton said.
Residents say they never expected the fires to hit so close to home and they don't know which house is next.
"I believe the house across the street going to be next and its going to catch the house next to that, spread and catch anybody's house out here," Calloway said.
Now she wants the city to step in and do something about it.
"I just think the city needs to get on its job and get rid of all these old abandoned houses so we won't have another fire like this," Calloway said.
Chief Stephens says the fire department relies on the community to prevent fires like these. He urges residents to report any unsecured homes and if you see something suspicious.
If you have any information, call the arson hotline at 1-800-282-5804.