A former Morris Brown College dormitory was gutted in a massive blaze that burned through Thursday morning.
Large flames could be seen for miles in downtown Atlanta as the fire raged Wednesday night at the three-story structure at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Vine Street. The building was too unstable to enter, Atlanta fire Sgt. Cortez Stafford said.
"We were afraid of going in this building because, No. 1, this building looked like it was under construction,” Stafford told Channel 2 Action News from the scene. “They were boarded up on the bottom half of the building."
The building was known as Furber Cottage, a former dorm in the Atlanta University Center Historic District built in 1899. It was sold during bankruptcy proceedings in 2014. Spokeswoman Gale Gary told AJC.com the building is not on Morris Brown College property, and it isn’t owned by the college.
It was not immediately clear which entity now owns the property. It appeared to be under renovation, according to Channel 2.
The fire was mostly extinguished at 11 p.m. Wednesday, but firefighters were still dousing hot spots Thursday morning.
No injuries have been reported in connection with the fire. The cause of the blaze is unknown.
“The building has been vacant for some time now, and it doesn't appear that anyone should have been in the building, so right now that’s why we are investigating,” Stafford said.
The historically black college has been the site of at least five fires since 2015.
In June, a small trash fire damaged the college’s administrative offices before the building’s sprinkler system extinguished it, AJC.com previously reported.
One historic dormitory, Gaines Hall, was heavily damaged in a 2015 fire. Another fire-damaged dorm, known as the John A. Middleton Towers, was torn down in 2017. The former was owned by Invest Atlanta and the latter by Friendship Baptist Church, both sold off as part of the struggling college’s plan to exit bankruptcy.
AJC IN-DEPTH: Morris Brown: How an Atlanta HBCU fell into bankruptcy
Gaines Hall still stands, despite Atlanta fire officials’ assessment that it should be torn down.
— Please return to AJC.com for updates.
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