(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Fire-damaged homes in the Ensley area prompted Birmingham Mayor William Bell to declare an emergency Tuesday morning over their removal, ABC News Birmingham affiliate WBMA-TV reports.
The announcement was made during a regularly scheduled city council meeting. At least 12 fires were reported in the Ensley area during the last week. Fire investigators have labeled them as suspicious.
"The abandoned homes and structures that have plagued Birmingham for decades are the top priority for my administration,” Bell said in a statement released Monday night. “I am saddened at the thought that someone would set fire to houses without regard for the owners, the neighbors and the community. I have declared an emergency status for those homes that have been recently victimized by what appears to be arson. They will be removed immediately. We will respond to the current threat with immediate action and we will respond to the future threat with prevention measures to ensure safety and viability.”
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