The Ridge Apartments fire remains under investigation

Published 7:22 pm Friday, January 19, 2018

Authorities are continuing their investigation into the cause of a Jan. 12 fire that destroyed a 24-unit building and left 40 to 50 people temporarily homeless at The Ridge Apartments on Lake Hill Drive.

Many of the people affected by the fire have been relocated to other apartments. The Ridge owner Anthony Monroe said two tenants have told him they will be relocating, and he is trying to find one-bedroom apartments for two other people. Monroe has said he will rebuild the building.

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“We still have not determined a direct cause or location of the fire,” Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said.

But he said information gathered through tenant interviews this week by fire investigator Nathaniel Williams has indicated a possible contributing cause.

“Entergy turned off the service to apartment 24 on Thursday (Jan. 11); Friday, the tenant in apartment 24 went to Entergy and had the service turned back on,” Danczyk said, adding the tenant was at work and not at home when the fire started.

Entergy restored service to the apartment sometime in the afternoon, he said, and later that evening, the residents in apartment 23 smelled smoke coming through the wall in their apartment. They went outside and saw flames coming from apartment 24.

“It is our opinion that restoring the service to apartment 24 contributed to the fire,” Danczyk said. “Whether there was an electrical problem in the apartment or an electrical appliance was left on and unattended, we don’t know. The building was heavily damaged, making it difficult for us determine exactly what caused the fire.”

Danczyk said firefighters received a 911 call about 1:30 a.m. Saturday about an apartment fire on Lake Hill Drive and arrived to find flames had already broken through the building’s roof.

Firefighters were unable to contain the fire, and flames got into the attic and raced the length of the building.   

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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