Answers needed in recent fires

Published 8:32pm Thursday, June 27, 2013

After taking photos at the library Tuesday afternoon, I had one of those “warm and fuzzy” feelings. It was one of those days where Selma seemed to be sunshine and rainbows. Everyone was in good spirits and Wednesday’s front page was shaping up to be a positive one.

Well, that image was shot to the ground when I saw a big cloud of black smoke hovering in the clouds near Riverside Park. Fire truck sirens bellowed out through Broad Street, signaling danger.

Happy feelings put aside, I raced to my car and booked it to the scene, already setting up my camera. Once I arrived at the source of the smoke, the 400 block of Alabama Avenue, it took me a moment to fully fathom what was before my eyes. Red and orange flames were ravaging an abandoned home, and quickly consuming a neighboring residence. People were coming out of their homes, mesmerized by the scene. Homeowners were shouting, watching their belongings go up in smoke.

It was complete mayhem.

Now, I’ve seen a few house fires before — most of them in Selma — but nothing like the one that occurred Tuesday. Although I didn’t know the source of the blaze, it seemed clear that this was no accidental fire. And as police revealed Wednesday, this fire was in fact intentional — caused by two unnamed juveniles.

This incident, in my opinion, should serve as the last straw. This is the third home in the last three months that has burned. Also, all of these fires have occurred in older homes — homes that serve great significance to Selma’s historical appeal. We must find the root cause of these fires. After Tuesday’s incident, I doubt all of these blazes are purely accidental. If there’s someone sending these homes up in smoke, they must be found and put to a stop. As a community, we should refuse to watch Selma’s beautiful history slip through our fingers at the hands of malicious individuals.

From a tourism perspective, our historical homes are part of our city’s highlights. When I first moved here, it was Old Town’s charm that allowed me to see a future for myself in Selma. With our large oak trees shading streets of colorful homes reminiscent of the past, Selma truly does have a precious gem it needs to protect.

Whoever was responsible for Tuesday’s fire clearly has no regard for Selma. For some reason — a reason I can’t fathom — they are blind to Selma’s beauty and rich history, which deserves to be preserved, not sent up in flames.

I have complete faith that the Selma Police Department will uncover the reason, or person, behind these fires. From both a safety standpoint and historical standpoint, Selma deserves answers.


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