Morning home fire kills Vicksburg woman, 83|Victim alone in her house in Marcus Bottom

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 11, 2010

A roaring blaze at a wood-frame house in Marcus Bottom this morning killed the 83-year-old woman who lived there alone.

Elsie Scott, 1414 Coccaro’s Alley, died from burns and smoke inhalation, Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said.

The fire apparently started between 8 and 8:30 a.m., Vicksburg Fire Chief Charles Atkins Jr. said.

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It was worsened by her house’s tin roof, which “keeps all the heat in the building,” Atkins said. “Most likely she was overcome before we got here.”

The cause remained under investigation, he said.

Donald Johnson, who lives across Cocarro’s Alley, said he knocked down Scott’s front door and tried to remove her from the house. “But she fell down, and her roof started to fall in,” Johnson said. “I had to get out.”

Scott lived alone in the house she rented from Ruby Smith, who lives next door at 1412 Coccaro’s Alley, Smith said.

Smith said Scott, a member of Pleasant Green Baptist Church on Bowman Street, was proud of her independence.

“I just visited her yesterday because I hadn’t seen her since the cold started,” Smith said.  “She was bragging about how she did everything for herself.”

The fire was at least the fourth this winter reported in the city, where temperatures have dipped into the teens.

An autopsy will be performed, Huskey said, because the Mississippi Fire Marshal’s Office requires one for every person who dies in a house fire. The body then will be released to Jefferson Funeral Home, he said.