115-year-old home damaged in fire

A 115-year-old house in the 1400 block of Broad Street, which was listed as an endangered historic structure last year, was damaged by a fire late Friday night.

 

At 11:33 p.m., Augusta firefighters responded to the blaze at the corner of Broad Street and St. Sebastian Way. Smoke and fire consumed the two-story wooden house, which was vacant and not secured.

The six-room house was significantly damaged down to the charred wall studs, and the roof appeared collapsed.

The house was added to Historic Augusta Inc.’s Endangered Properties list last year in an effort to attract a buyer to preserve the structure. Built in 1896, the house was one of 20 Broad Street homes and another 20 Jones Street homes financed by Augusta department store owner J.B. White around the turn of the 20th century.

“The worst thing for a building is for it to be vacant,” said Erick Montgomery, the executive director of Historic Augusta.

Of the five J.B White Houses still standing, two are occupied. The burned home stands next to two other vacant ones also on the Endangered Properties list.

“It makes them more vulnerable but I don’t think hope is over for them yet,” Montgomery said of the preservation efforts for the two remaining houses.

Montgomery said a homeless person trying to keep warm could be a likely cause of the fire.

The fire’s cause is still under investigation, according to fire department Chief Michael Weathers. One firefighter was sent to the hospital with a neck injury.

Staff writer Summer Moore contributed to this story.

 

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