Structure Fire Dangers Grow as Homeless Take Shelter in Abandoned Buildings

"It certainly is something that we're concerned about," said Lincoln Fire Captain Jeremy Gegg.

Freezing temperatures have been driving homeless people off the streets and when places like the People's City Mission reach capacity, some people take shelter in Lincoln's abandoned buildings and homes.

While squatting in these homes many use candles for light and heat, creating a dangerous situation at night.

"If you fall asleep or leave the building without extinguishing the candle, certainly a fire could start," said Gegg.

Firefighters like Jeremy Gegg have responded to multiple fire calls like this over the past few winters and know to take the proper precautions, even when a home appears to be empty.

"It's always something that we take into consideration when we arrive at a structure that we know is vacant or we suspect is vacant. That their could be a homeless individual staying there," said Gegg.

With Tuesday night's temperatures once again expected to drop down to freezing levels, firefighters have words of warning for owners of these vacant buildings.

"Property owners to make sure that your vacant buildings are secure, if neighbors know of a particular building that is vacant and they see people going in an out of there that would be a good time to contact the police," said Gegg.

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