Vicksburg woman, 74, killed in house fire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Vicksburg firefighters work to contain a house fire at 3505 Drummond St., which claimed the life of Cletus Hadad Monday morning. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

A Vicksburg woman described as kind and neighborly died Monday morning when fire spread through her home near Vicksburg High School.

Cletus Hadad, 74, was alone in her residence at 3505 Drummond St. when the fire began around 10:15 a.m. Coroner Ronald Regan said Mrs. Hadad most likely died from smoke inhalation.

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Battalion Chief John Wilkinson said the cause of the fire was under investigation.

“We think it started in the rear of the house, but that is speculation at this point,” Wilkinson said.

Carol Tedder was driving north on Drummond Street about 10:20 a.m., when she noticed flames shooting out of the red brick house that sits on a knoll near the entrance drive to VHS.

“I went and knocked on doors of surrounding houses until someone answered,” Tedder said.

Jimmy Horn, 1212 Polk St., the Hadads’ neighbor for 50 years, called the fire department after Tedder told him about the flames.

For almost an hour, rescue personnel held out hope that Mrs. Hadad was not in the house, but as family members arrived, it became clear she was.

“She was a very kind lady,” Horn said. “She was always really good to the children in the neighborhood.”

Horn said Mrs. Hadad had been sick for a few years and was confined to a wheelchair.

“The children around the neighborhood would come and visit her, and she would let them swim in her pool,” he said.

When the first fire truck arrived, the house was already engulfed in flames and smoke that could be seen all over the city. Firefighters battled the blaze for nearly two hours and spent most of the afternoon dousing hot spots that threatened to reignite the fire.

“This is just a really sad, sad situation,” Horn said.

Wilkinson said the State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to investigate the fire because of the fatality.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Fisher-Riles Funeral Home.

Mrs. Hadad is survived by one son, John “Trip” Hadad III of Vicksburg; three daughters, Gail H. Manwiller of Portland, Ore., and Dolly H. Claypool and Carol Ann Murphy both of Vicksburg; a brother, Ray Powell of Doyline, La.; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.