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Vicksburg Fire Department responds to structure fire

By Brandon O’Connor & John Surratt

The Vicksburg Post

Vicksburg firefighters, assisted by tanker trucks from four Warren County volunteer fire departments, battled a house fire Wednesday night on West Magnolia Street that destroyed one home and heavily damaged another.

The fire call was the first after a break in the city’s main waterline cut off water service to the city, but deputy Vicksburg fire chief Craig Danczyk said there was no lack of water to fight the fire.

“The arrangement (for water) between the city and county was put to the test last night and it worked flawlessly,” Warren County fire coordinator Jerry Briggs said.

Tankers from the Culkin, Fisher Ferry, Eagle Lake and Bovina Fire departments were used to supply water to fight the fire.

“We had 750 gallons (each) on our pumpers, and the volunteer fire departments’ tankers have 1,500 and 2,000 gallons,” Dancyzk said. “We set up an agreement earlier with the county departments to help with water. They were able to shuttle sufficient water to fight the fires.” 

Briggs said Eagle Lake’s tanker was already in Vicksburg providing water for the chiller at Promise Hospital on North Frontage Road, and trucks from the Culkin and Fisher Ferry departments filled in for city trucks at the city’s Central Fire Station during the fire.

The fire occurred about 10:20 p.m. Wednesday, and firefighters arrived to find the home at 1235 West Magnolia St. fully involved. Danczyk said the home’s wood construction and a gas line contributed to the intense blaze.

He said the intense heat from the fire damaged an adjacent house on the building’s east side at 1237 West Magnolia, with flames getting into the eaves of the neighboring house and eventually working their way into the attic.

“That house had significant damage,” he said. Danczyk said a house behind the original building and another house on its west side had minor heat damage.

Vicksburg Police Department officer Henry Williams, who was on scene, said the home at 1235 West Magnolia Street was vacant, but the residence at 1237 West Magnolia does have occupants, but no one was home at the time of the fire.

“Everything worked like it was supposed to work,” Briggs said of response to the fire. “We were able to assist the city and still provide coverage for the county.”

PLANS IN PLACE IF NEEDED

Long before Wednesday night’s fire on Magnolia Street, Vicksburg Fire Chief Charles Atkins said the city’s fire department is prepared to respond if an emergency occurs during the declared water emergency.

Atkins said if a fire occurs before the water treatment facility’s main line is repaired, restoring water service and pressure to the city, they “would make a stab at it for sure” with the water they currently have on hand.

“Right now, we have on hand the water we have in our tanks right now along with maybe some water trucks that the city water has already and what our volunteers have,” Atkins said.

The Warren County Fire Department is working to moving resources closer to the city and also providing water to Promise Hospital to keep the air conditioner running and the county jail to enable them to flush toilets.

“We are in the process of working this,” county fire coordinator Jerry Briggs said. “This is not the first time. We are moving apparatus closer into the city. As far as fire protection, they aren’t going to have an issue with water.

“I have three tankers and three pumpers moving closer to the city. We may actually have some in town, large capacity water.”

Briggs added that if additional resources are needed they will reach out to Culkin water.

“Right now, we have it on hand,” Briggs said. “After that, we are going to have to work a deal with Culkin Water or one of the outside water agencies about what we provide the city. Anything from Culkin water as far fire protection goes they are good with it. If we are doing it any other way, they’re going to have to worry about talking to the city, but fire protection we’re all in this together.”

Atkins said the possible shortage wouldn’t impact their response time to an emergency, but could hinder their ability to fight a fire if the water main is down for an extended amount of time.

“Right now the effect of the situation, if we were to have a fire we would need water to put it out,” he said. “That is our primary source of extinguishing fire.

“We are going to rely on what we have right now. If we need any other resources our EMA will talk to other EMA mangers and he can talk to the state if we need the state to come in.”