Fire destroys apartments on Clay Street

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Vicksburg firefighters work to extinguish a blaze at The Southern Pride Apartment, 1901 Clay St., Monday night.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[04/15/03]A vacant apartment building was destroyed in a fire Monday night as Vicksburg Fire Department crews fought the roaring blaze with three fire engines and a ladder company.

All of the contents of The Southern Pride Apartments, 1901 Clay St., were destroyed and the structure received about 90 percent damage, Vicksburg Deputy Fire Chief Rose Shaifer said.

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The apartments, one of the few remaining residential structures on Clay, were on a hill just west of Vicksburg Catholic School.

Traffic was blocked on Clay from Spring Street to Hayes for about five hours while firefighters worked to control the fire.

Shaifer said about 18 firefighters and rescue crew members were on the scene.

“They did an excellent job,” she said, adding that crews were able to get most of the fire out in an hour, but stayed on the scene to ensure hot spots were extinguished.

The building was owned by Amy Wallace, who said it had been in her family for 30 or 40 years, but was empty and for sale.

Wallace now lives in Jackson and was in Vicksburg collecting rent money at residences she owns in the block behind the apartment building.

Steve Oslanzi of Chicago was driving down Clay Street and reported the fire at 9 p.m.

“The front porch was in flames,” he said. “We turned around and drove back by and the whole front of the building was on fire.”

An arson team including Investigator Leslie Decareaux, Lt. Clarence Maxey and Assistant Chief Henry Williams were investigating. Shaifer would not comment on whether arson was suspected.