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YEAR IN REVIEW: Chicken Man blows up house, self

Andrew Wordes remembered

Roswell’s Chicken Man, Andrew Wordes, shown here in August 2011, took the city to task in an effort to keep his flock of birds, primarily chickens. Witnesses say he blew himself and his home up Monday, March 26 when county marshals tried to forcibly evict him. JONATHAN COPSEY. (click for larger version)

Wordes set fire to his home March 26 in an effort to avoid eviction. Witnesses say he was inside when explosions rocked the residence. MAGGIE BEAN. (click for larger version)

MAGGIE BEAN. (click for larger version)

Andrew Wordes – affectionately known as Roswell’s Chicken Man – was laid to rest March 30 in Milton. He died five days earlier in his home. JONATHAN COPSEY.

Brother Jim Wordes shows the mourners panels bearing childhood photos of Andrew and a letter written to him from Roswell schoolchildren thanking him for giving their classes chickens. JONATHAN COPSEY.
January 03, 2013
ROSWELL, Ga. – Rather than be evicted, Roswell's "Chicken Man," Andrew Wordes, took extreme measures March 26, 2012 when he blew up his own house with himself inside.

Witnesses said at about 12:45 p.m., Fulton County Marshals came to the Alpine Drive home to evict Wordes. Wordes allegedly told everyone to get back before an explosion rocked the home.

Witness Lee Hollingsworth said at about 1 p.m., he heard an explosion within the home that blew the roof "a foot into the air and all the windows blew out."

"It was very scary," said another witness, Maggie Bean. "Andrew asked if everyone was away from the house and then said something to the effect of 'it ain't going to be pretty.'"

Bean said she saw a large puff of smoke come from the garage before flames erupted, engulfing the front of the home. Wordes was found inside, dead from the explosion.

An outspoken gun and property rights advocate, Wordes was also known by local schoolchildren for visiting classrooms to teach about farm animals and to give away chicks. He loved his birds, giving each a name.

"He was a chain-smoking, wiry, Jewish, used-car salesman," said former neighbor Sheree Crowe. "Andy's heart was huge. We believed he could do anything. Do you need a ride to work? Call Andy. Kids late to school? Call Andy. He was not the Chicken Man to me, he was a friend."

Wordes' brother, Jim, said he had a habit of both endearing himself to strangers and alienating himself to the same people. He was stubborn and often would not take no for an answer, living largely by his own rules. Wordes died "exactly how he wanted to go," Jim said.

He first gained notoriety in 2009 fighting city ordinances that would not allow him to continue raising chickens, turkeys and other fowl on his property. Represented by former Gov. Roy Barnes, Wordes – since dubbed the "Chicken Man" – won the right to keep his more than 100 birds.

That was not the end of his troubles. A lengthy trail of legal problems culminated over the next year when Wordes was to be forcibly evicted from his home.

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