Fire destroys house where tree fell on power lines

Published 11:15 am Friday, August 31, 2012

Flames blamed on power lines downed by a fallen tree during Tropical Storm Isaac destroyed a home in Oak Park subdivision late Thursday.

This morning, the owner blamed no one, including Entergy, which continued working this morning to restore electricity to about 4,000 customers.

“I understand that they were probably overwhelmed with the number of calls. I have nothing negative to say about it,” said Charlene Squire, who has lived in the house at 6002 Indiana Ave., for about a year. “Maybe I’m just a little disappointed.”

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
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Culkin and Fisher Ferry volunteer fire crews found the home “50 percent involved” when they arrived at 10:40 p.m., Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs said.

Lying in the driveway was a massive oak tree.

“It seemed to be an electrical fire,” Briggs said this morning as authorities returned to address hot spots in the smoldering rubble. Firefighters fought the blaze until 3:30 this morning, Briggs said.

“Flames were through the roof,” he said.

Squire said she was asleep in a local hotel room when dispatchers called her at around 11 p.m.

Squire, who works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division, said she rented a hotel room after discovering the tree had fallen across her driveway, taking power lines with it. Power to her house went out around 1:42 a.m. Thursday, Squire said.

Neighbors’ headlights alerted her to the worsening weather and the downed tree, she said.

“I took pictures of it and got clothes together because I knew it would be tough to get back in afterward,” Squire said. “I called Entergy four times.”

On the fourth call, around 10 a.m., Squire said she gave two phone numbers and the address to an operator. “I didn’t get another call.”

Power was still out for 4,052 Entergy customers this morning and about 60 lineman arrived overnight to handle the rest of the outages, spokesman Don Arnold said.

More than 6,000 were out of power early Thursday as the category 1 hurricane brought winds up to 40 mph, with the highest reported gust at 51 mph.

Entergy said crews don’t hit the streets to reconnect power when winds exceed 35 mph due for safety reasons, chiefly when inside bucket trucks.

Arnold did not return a follow-up call for comment concerning the fire.

Squire said her insurance company was assessing damage to the house.