• 50°

Fire damages antiques, auction house near City Front

A Vicksburg Firefighter sprays down flames coming from the roof of River City Antiques on Levee Street Wednesday.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[9/27/01]A fire at River City Antiques and Auction Service caused major damage to the warehouse near City Front on Wednesday, leaving the owner with a decision on whether to rebuild.

Floyd Kelly, 62, said furniture in the store was worth $50,000 to $100,000.

Kelly said he had no insurance, but “we will still be in the antique business somewhere.” He said it was too early to decide what to do.

“We have to see how much damage before we make any decision,” Kelly said.

Vicksburg Fire Department Deputy Chief Rose Shaifer said firefighters got the call around 3 p.m. and arrived to see smoke pouring from the roof and doors. No injuries were reported and all the occupants of the building got out safely, Shaifer said.

No other buildings in the area were threatened, she said.

She said the fire apparently started in the back where an employee was stripping furniture. From there, it spread to other areas of the building.

Barbara Caples said she was stripping furniture when she suddenly noticed fire all around her feet.

“I tried to get away, but the fire was everywhere, so I ran through it,” Caples said.

Others in the building were Kelly, his wife, a grandson, a secretary and two customers.

June Kelly said River City Antiques has been at 1609 Levee St. for about 14 years.

Shaifer said most of the fire was extinguished by 4:15, but firefighters stayed on the scene to watch for hot spots.

She said there were no signs of arson, but the fire department will investigate.