Neighbor worries about recent fire

Published 9:18 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

A vacant house fire Monday has one Selma man concerned about his safety.

Eric Kerstetter said he has lived on Faulk Avenue for seven years, and within the last year he has seen three vacant houses around him catch fire. Two of them are on either side of where he lives, and the most recent one on Monday was just across the street.

“That’s the third one on this street now,” Kerstetter said Monday as he watched the Selma Fire Department battle the blaze. “Nobody has lived in this one here in eight years.”

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The Selma Fire Department responded to the fire on Faulk Avenue, which is off of Old Montgomery Highway, around 6 p.m. Monday night. It took the department a few hours to put the fire out.

Kerstetter believes someone is responsible for setting the home on fire, along with the other two on the same street.

“I can tell you that one was set on fire, and I can tell you that one over there was set on fire,” he said Monday.

“You see where that burn spot is right there on the corner? They set a chair on fire. There was a chair sitting there.”

Kerstetter said the fires have him concerned about his own home.

“I’m wondering what’s next,” he said. “I’m like well, which one is next? Is this one next? Is my house next? Are you going to burn down the garage? Yeah, it makes me worry.”

While Kerstetter believes the fires were intentionally set, Selma Fire Chief Toney Stephens said that is just hearsay from people making their own assumptions about the fires.

“Those fires over there are under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and we have not received any information that have determined any fires on that street as being arson,” Stephens said. “Anything that you’re hearing now is nothing more than individuals that’s making their own assumptions.”

Stephens said there is no “substantial evidence” that arson is the reason for the fire at this point.

State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen said his office is not currently involved in investigations on any fire on Faulk Avenue.

“Apparently, we’re not involved in those, or it’s not recorded that way in [our investigator’s] files,” Pilgreen said.

“As far as Faulk Avenue, he fact-checked everything he’s assisting Selma with, and he didn’t have anything listed on Faulk.”

Stephens said at this point the cause of the fire is unknown and is still under investigation.