Gas catches fire, one injured

Published 10:36 am Friday, February 24, 2017

Natural gas igniting while city utilities employees were working on a gas service line was the cause of a fire that damaged the main building of Warren-Yazoo Behavioral Health, 3444 Wisconsin Ave., Thursday morning.

A city gas department worker was injured and taken to Merit Health River Region for observation, said Dane Lovell, gas department superintendent.

Don Brown, Warren-Yazoo deputy executive director, said the damage from the fire has forced center officials to restrict operations to outpatient cases and emergencies for an undetermined period.

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He said the fire damaged the center’s telephone lines “and all calls will be answered by our Yazoo (County) office and transferred to our cell phones. Our answering service will take calls after hours.”

He said center officials met Thursday afternoon to discuss a plan for returning to full service.

Deputy Vicksburg fire chief Craig Dancsyk said firefighters were notified by Vicksburg-Warren 911 dispatchers about a fire at the complex about 9:28 a.m., adding Engines 8 and 2 and the department’s

“The fire was at the rear of the building,” he said. “All the employees were able to get out and we were able to work with the officials will Warren-Yazoo to develop a plan. They were very cooperative.”

He said firefighters also helped employees move sensitive records from the damaged areas.

Lovell said the fire occurred as the workers were replacing a valve on the service line, but did not know what caused the gas to ignite.

Brown said the city was called because workers and clients complained they smelled gas in the building. He said the gas line was near his office, and he heard a sound like somebody moving something just before the fire.

“The alarm system worked well, and everybody was able to get out safely,” he said.

“Fortunately, this did not turnout worse than it did,” Danczyk said. “The building was not a total loss, everyone was able to get out and there were no serious injuries.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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