Woman, dog rescued from burning Letitia Street home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Vicksburg firefighters work to battle a blaze at the residence of Lilly Moore at 2408 Letitia St. Tuesday afternoon just before 1 p.m. The roof of the house in the foreground was also damaged. (Brian LodenThe Vicksburg Post)

[10/20/04]A Vicksburg woman and her son’s dog had help from a new neighbor in narrowly escaping injury when her Letitia Street home burned Tuesday afternoon.

Lilly Moore, 56, 2408 Letitia St., was inside and unaware that her home was on fire when her across-the-street neighbor came to her rescue.

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Thomas Lewis, 40, who said he had moved to the street about two months ago, saw the flames and ran across to help.

“He was saying, Come open the door'” as he banged on the front door, Moore said.

Lewis said he eventually entered the home from the back door and tried to fight the fire by filling a kitchen pot with water from the sink and throwing it on the fire.

The flames and smoke eventually forced him and Moore to safety through the back door and down a ladder Moore said had been placed against her elevated porch while steps to it were being repaired.

Moore said she wears glasses and she did not have them on when the fire broke out.

“He said, Your home is on fire. Get your dog and y’all get out of the house,'” Moore said of Lewis when he met her near the back door. “I just couldn’t see.”

Also before firefighters arrived, Lewis used a garden hose to spray a butane tank less than 10 yards from the home.

“I was trying to hose that tank down to keep it from igniting,” Lewis said.

Vicksburg police patrolman Rudolph Walker, who arrived before firefighters, who were called at 12:58, said the home was made of old, dry wood.

“It didn’t take long before it was gone,” Walker said of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home where Moore had lived for 24 years.

No injuries were reported.

Vicksburg fire Deputy Chief Rose Shaifer said this morning the cause of the fire is believed to be an electric floor lamp with a halogen bulb that overheated, An estimated $10,000 damage was done to Moore’s home, which was expected to be salvageable, and the roof of a next-door home was also damaged, Shaifer said.

Moore said she and her roommate, Alphonse Jackson, 52, who was at work when the fire broke out, would be displaced and they held no insurance on the home.

Before firefighters left the scene friends and neighbors had begun gathering and offering support to Moore.

“As long as I’ve got (a home), she’s got one,” said Hester Lockridge, a longtime friend of Moore’s.

“I thank God for things as well as they are,” Moore said.