Fire destroys vacant homes on Florence Street

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Ingrid Shankle and her students at Silas X Floyd Head Start were coming back from lunch when they heard there was a fire at the houses across the street.

"It was scary for the kids everybody was wondering, you know, what was happening," Shankle said.

One of the staff members in the office told her to move her car to make way for the fire trucks, and that's when she saw the damage to the two houses in the 900 block of Florence Street. 

"When I came to move my car, the smoke had already started billowing, coming across the street," Shankle said.

The Augusta Richmond Fire Department got the call around 11:30 a.m. Monday and responded quickly.

"When we got the call, it was fully involved when we got here," Battalion Chief Chris Reid said.

It only took crews about 30 minutes to put out the fire, but crews came back around 3:30 p.m. after they received reports of smoking tree limbs around the property.

There was also a fire on Cedar Street at the same time, but officials say it was only a mattress fire and no damage was sustained to the property.

Shankle says the school followed the fire evacuation plan to keep the young students safe.

"These are 4 and 5-year-old students for them to really be safe," she said. "They did a very good job of exiting the building so they evacuated the building very fast." 

The kids were kept out of the school an hour and a half, and the firefighters even made sure they knew everything was okay.

"Some of the firemen came over to the fence and spoke to the kids and let them know that it's okay. 'Everything is safe. We have it all under control,'" Shankle said.

The cause of the Florence Street house fire is still under investigation, and fire crews say it could be a few weeks before they know the official cause.

Copyright 2014 WFXG. All rights reserved.