Summer sun makes for double the heat at church fire on 27

Published 12:30 am Saturday, June 26, 2010

Intense flames made hotter by the Mississippi summer heat gutted the attic of a church on Mississippi 27 Friday morning after downed power lines snapped a utility pole and ignited a blaze at Pleasant Valley M.B.

No injuries were reported, and the church was empty at the time of the fire.

Volunteers with Culkin, Fisher Ferry and Bovina fire departments responded to the fire, reported at 10:41 a.m., and battled the blaze for about 45 minutes. As the mercury hovered near 90 degrees around the time the fire broke out, temperatures inside the closed attic were estimated to be near 200, Warren County Volunteer Fire Coordinator Kelly Worthy said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am

The extreme heat prompted volunteers to call on city ambulances — in case of a heat-related injury. But no paramedics responded.

Worthy, who was at the scene, said he felt “perturbed” the city didn’t send paramedics.

Reached later, Mark Hales, assistant chief for fire operations with the Vicksburg Fire Department, said the department’s four ambulances were not dispatched because initial reports didn’t indicate injuries. The city had operated five ambulances, but cut one in 2008 due to fuel costs and overtime cuts.

The church is located outside Vicksburg corporate limits, barely a tenth of a mile away from the line at East Clay Street and U.S. 80. The city’s ambulances have responded to fires with injuries outside city limits before, when county volunteers request assistance — as was the case June 10 when a trailer fire hospitalized a Redwood man. Units also respond to medic calls outside the city and charge the county a flat fee.

This weekend’s church services for Pleasant Valley M.B. members and those who attend Higher Praise services at the facility should go on as scheduled, said Higher Praise pastor Chaz Bosarge.