Morning blaze destroys apartment building|[06/06/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A group of residents and onlookers watched as a building at The Crossings apartment complex on South Frontage Road went up in flames this morning. No one was believed to be injured, Deputy Chief Rose Shaifer said at the scene.

&#8220All I heard was people screaming and hollering to get out,” said Shane Free, who lives in the adjacent building.

The fire was reported at 9:23 and was believed to have started in the rear of Building 18, said Stephen Scott of the Vicksburg Police Department.

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In addition to hoses on the ground, firefighters used an aerial ladder truck to extinguish flames that shot from the roof, which eventually collapsed. The area was covered in a thick blanket of black smoke as firefighters extinguished the flames.

Scott said that when he received the call, the smoke was visible from Pemberton Square Boulevard. Firefighters continued to fight flames at 10:15.

A resident of the damaged building, Casey Stokes, said she was called to the scene from her job at River Region Medical Center. Stokes has lived there since August and, when she arrived, was speechless as she watched the building burn.

Other residents arrived on the scene and shared tears and embraces as they watched the building burn.

Dana Jones, assistant manager of the apartment complex, said eight units were in the building, but was unsure how many people lived in there.

The Crossings, built in 1999, has one, two and three-bedroom apartments in two-story buildings. The property includes a pool and a clubhouse and is managed by GF Properties of Pepper Lake, Ohio.

The cause of the fire was unknown, officials said, and remained under investigation.