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Neighbors, family remember woman killed in house fire

The residents on the south end of Marcus Street remembered Debra Sweet as a woman who was known to speak her mind, but also someone who was a gracious woman to others.

Sweet, a double amputee confined to a wheelchair, died Tuesday morning in a fire that destroyed her wood frame house and damaged a neighboring house.

Debra Sweet

Firefighters arrived to find flames coming out of the front and sides of the house.

“Me and another man tried to go in the house and get her,” said her uncle Charles Price, who lives in the house just to the right of his niece’s house. “We tried to get in through the living room but we couldn’t get far. We tried to go in from the back of the house, but got as far as her bedroom and couldn’t go any further.”

Price said Sweet had one leg amputated in 2007 and the second several years later.

“Everyone around here grew up in this neighborhood,” he said. “She was very outspoken. She would tell you what was on her mind, whether you liked it or not.”

He said she spent most of her time watching television, adding the game show “The Price is Right” and the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” were among her favorite programs.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who attended Vicksburg High School with Sweet, said he remembered her as someone full of life.

“She was very smart, personable and a cheerleader,” he said. “I’ve known her and her family for years. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

“She was a very good woman,” said Paul Reed, whose mother lives two houses south of Sweet’s, and called her “a gracious woman; I’ve known her all my life. We all grew up here — the Reeds, the Prices and the Garretts.

“It’s just sad to see someone go like that.”

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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