City woman dies in fire at her home|[2/27/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

A Vicksburg woman who died in a fire at her home late Friday night was described Saturday as a “good person” who “tried to get along with everybody.”

Barbara Stampley, 55, had lived in the 2314 Marshall St. home that she shared with her mother for more than 20 years.

The fire, which was reported at 10:53, damaged mainly the area of Miss Stampley’s bedroom, in the rear of the home, before Vicksburg firefighters extinguished it.

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Deputy Warren County Coroner Larry Chisley said Miss Stampley died as a result of the fire. He said an autopsy had been scheduled.

Miss Stampley’s mother was in the home when the fire started, but she escaped, said Shonda Williams, an across-the-street neighbor.

Williams said she had known Miss Stampley for about 13 years and had grown up with her children.

“She was real friendly and tried to get along with everybody,” Williams said. “She’s a real sweet person, and I know she’s going to be missed.”

Another neighbor, Barbara Washington, said Stampley had lived in the home for more than 20 years. It sits on an embankment above Marshall Street, and its nearest neighbors are apartment buildings on two sides.

“She was a good person,” Washington said. “Real nice, always went to church on Sunday.”

Miss Stampley was disabled and was not employed, Washington said.

Williams said she saw smoke coming from the home before firefighters arrived and that she saw Miss Stampley’s mother leave through the front door.

“She was coming out coughing,” Williams said.

A nephew of Miss Stampley’s lives in the apartment building next door, Williams said. He rushed over to talk to Miss Stampley’s mother but could not get in, she added.

Firefighters were initially not sure if Miss Stampley was in the house, though some at the scene said she was.

A niece of Stampley’s who is about 21 years old also lived in the home, Williams said.

The home was surrounded by crime-scene tape Saturday afternoon. Neighbors said Stampley’s mother and niece were staying with relatives following the damage to their home.

Fire Chief Keith Rogers said firefighters extinguished the blaze within 20 minutes of when it was reported. The fire was contained to the back bedroom of the home, which has five bedrooms on one story.

Miss Stampley was found dead during a search for her as the fire was being fought, Rogers said.

The fire remains under investigation by the Vicksburg Fire Department. And, as is standard in fires with fatalities, the state fire marshal’s office has also been asked to participate in the investigation.

The fire fatality was the second in the city in 2005.