Fires destroy Halloween displays, damage downtown Fred’s store

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 17, 2000

A downtown business was damaged and two Halloween displays were destroyed within four hours Monday night and this morning.

Fred’s Super Dollar Store at 1514 Washington St., sustained minor damage in a fire reported at 1:30 this morning, three and a half hours after two downtown Halloween displays were destroyed by blazes.

Lt. Rose Shaifer of the Vicksburg Fire Department wouldn’t comment on whether the fires are being treated as arson.

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“All I can say right now is they are under investigation,” she said.

The first blaze was reported at 9:48 p.m. Monday night at Washington and Grove streets, across the street from The Biscuit Company. A display consisting of hay, a scarecrow, pumpkins and gourds was burned.

About three hours later, at 1 a.m., a display at Veto and Washington streets, near People’s Drug Store and also made of hay and pumpkins, was burned.

Rosalie Theobald, director of the Main Street Program which built three holiday displays with the City of Vicksburg Landscaping Department on Oct. 6, said she was worried something might happen to the arrangements.

“There is always that possibility of someone destroying it, but I wanted to leave them out as long as possible,” Theobald said this morning.

She said pumpkins were stolen from the displays last year. “I never thought something like this would happen.”

Thirty minutes after the second display was destroyed, firefighters responded to Fred’s on Washington Street.

“When they arrived the front exterior wall was in flames,” Shaifer said.

Fred’s manager Kevin McAdory said the damage was minor. “The fire department caught it before it got out of hand.”

Jeff Richardson, landscape architect for the City of Vicksburg, helped set up the Halloween displays.

“I don’t think this will be a morale buster for people downtown, but it is not good,” he said.

Theobald said rebuilding the displays this year is not possible.

“We will definitely come back and do it again next year,” she said. “You can’t let one bad apple spoil the whole barrel.”