Fighters battle blaze at condemned apartment complex
Published 12:18 am Saturday, November 5, 2016
Smoke was still rising Saturday morning from the charred, smoldering ruins of an apartment building that caught fire and burned Friday night at the condemned Whispering Woods Apartments complex, 780 U.S. 61 North.
The burned building is one of a group of apartment buildings on the south side of the complex located in the county. The cause of the fire, which was the second to a building in the complex this year, is under investigation. City and Culkin firefighters were called to the blaze, which was reported about 10:12 p.m. Friday.
Chuck Tate, a member of the Culkin Volunteer Fire Department, said the building was vacant and there was no electricity to the house. Vicksburg Fire Chief Charles Atkins said three Vicksburg fire trucks, the department’s service truck and ambulance responded to the scene. Five Culkin trucks were used to fight the fire, Tate said.
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“When they (firefighters) arrived on the scene, it was fully involved,” said. “Initially, the call came in as several buildings on fire and several others threatened. When we arrived, it was one building and two threatened, the city called us for assistance.”
The city had turned off water service to the complex for non-payment of its water bill, forcing firefighters to connect their lines to a fire hydrant on U.S. 61 North at the entrance to the apartment complex.
“We had to lay about 2,000 feet of line to get water to the fire,” Tate said. “The city water and gas department came out and turned the water on at the complex, but it didn’t help much; we didn’t have a lot of pressure.”
Saturday morning, Culkin firefighters were still on the scene, watching the embers. Tate said the hoses had been removed from the hydrant on U.S. 61 north and two tankers, two pumpers and the department’s grass fire truck remained on the scene.
The apartment complex, formerly known as Confederate Ridge, was renamed Whispering Woods when Whispering Woods Holdings L.L.C., a Delaware-based holding company with offices in Florida, acquired the property in February 2013.
Vicksburg fire fighters in early February were called to a fire at the complex that heavily damaged an apartment building. Firefighters said after the fire they were unable to save the building because substandard water lines in the complex reduced the pressure needed to fight the blaze. Atkins said at the time the complex had 4-inch lines instead of the necessary 6-inch lines.
The burned out building has not been demolished or repaired.
The city had recently condemned the complex after water service was cut off at the complex for nonpayment of its bill. It was the fourth time city building officials had issued a condemnation order for the complex. Two of those orders were still in effect when the last condemnation was issued in late October.