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Dallas Bay Volunteer firefighters save house

FALLING WATER -- A family on Roberts Mill Road was awakened at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday by the shrilling of smoke alarms and found smoke and fire in the living room. They got out of the house and called 911, and the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department was there within a few minutes, according to a news release.

The firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in the one room and spare the Christmas tree and presents, according to the release. Fire Chief Markus Fritts blamed the fire on an electrical short.

There were no injuries and the family went to stay with relatives, the release stated.

Delivery slayings may be linked

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Birmingham police said the killing of a pizza delivery driver may be linked to a previous attack in the same location.

Authorities say 63-year-old Najeh Masaeid was killed Sunday while making a delivery at an apartment complex. WBRC-TV said investigators believe the killing is linked to an attack on another pizza delivery driver that occurred two days before Thanksgiving at the same complex. That driver wasn't killed.

Lt. Sean Edwards says police believe more than one person was involved in Masaeid's slaying. Officers don't believe the attackers live in the complex, but they may have relatives or friends who live there.

Donors at an online site have given more than $75,000 to help Masaeid's family.

Man granted bond in gunfight

ATLANTA -- An Atlanta man was still in the Fulton County jail Wednesday despite a judge dismissing the main murder charge against him and setting a bond after an extensive hearing.

Atlanta police charged Leonard Knight with murder following a gunfight in southeast Atlanta that left him wounded and another man dead. Knight had come to his girlfriend's apartment that he said they had shared and found another man.

The girlfriend told police that she had broken up with Knight and that he didn't live in the apartment. On Tuesday, the dead man's father begged Magistrate Karen Woodson not to set a bond.

"This man is a murderer -- he unloaded 14 rounds in the house," Michael Gordon said. "That tells me that he was intent to kill."

His pleas were unsuccessful. Woodson said the testimony showed Knight merited a $50,000 bond. He ruled the testimony didn't support the malice murder or aggravated assault with a firearm charges.

The judge allowed the case to go forward on a felony-murder charge on the theory that Gordon had died because Knight had committed another felony of possessing a firearm. He had been convicted of a drug charge in the 1990s and it was illegal as a convicted felon for him to own a gun.

The $50,000 bond encompasses the felony murder and other related charges. Upon release Knight is also required to wear an ankle monitor, stay away from the crime scene, and keep a 24-hour curfew except for work.

Man faces sexual abuse charges

CULLMAN, Ala. -- A worker responsible for court-ordered drug screenings now faces additional charges related to sexual encounters with female clients.

The Cullman Times reported that 61-year-old Winfred Eugene Vance Jr. was charged Monday with first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree sodomy.

Cullman County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Max Bartlett said authorities are asking anyone who might have information on the case to come forward.

Vance was arrested Dec. 5 on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of sexual misconduct.

The charges followed allegations that Vance coerced female clients into sexual encounters by threatening them with imprisonment and failure on drug screenings.

It wasn't known Wednesday whether Vance has an attorney.

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