ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the 800 block of Elm Street in South Abilene Friday afternoon. Crews reported finding a backyard shed fully involved upon arrival. While no injuries were sustained, the property did not go without damage, and residents said a fire like this has been an ongoing concern.
“I was actually at work, and a friend of mine was driving by and was like, ‘Hey, I think your old neighborhood is going up in flames.’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean my old neighborhood? My mother is still in this area,'” said Carolyn Botero, the daughter of a woman who lives just a few homes down from the fire.
An AFD press release states that an improperly extinguished cigarette was found to be the cause of the blaze. Botero said she and other residents have feared a day like this because a man who lives on this property has been known to burn piles of trash on the land. Residents have asked him to stop, including the man’s sister-in-law, who lives in the home attached to the yard.
“He has a bit of an issue with habitually starting fires,” Botero said.
KTAB/KRBC spoke with the man’s sister-in-law. She said she has even called the cops on him before, but he remains unresponsive to her and fellow residents’ requests to stop the trash burn piles. Although his piles were not the cause of this fire, the fear for the future safety of the neighborhood remains.
“This is an ongoing issue, and I wish it would get resolved,” said Botero.
Damage from this fire was contained to a fence and a shed, which AFD said was occupied at the time, though the occupant was able to escape. No other homes or structures sustained any damage, and no injuries were reported. The fire has been deemed accidental.