Fire destroys apartment building at The Landings

Published 6:04 pm Monday, January 6, 2020

Heather Casey stood with neighbors in front of an apartment building at The Landings Apartments, 501 Fairways Drive, and watched the nearby apartment building that was her home consumed by smoke and flames Monday afternoon.

“I was inside my apartment when I heard someone knocking on my door,” Casey, a coach at Warren Central High School, said. “I opened it and someone told me to get out of the building, it was on fire.

“I went outside and saw flames coming from out of the top. I arrived at my apartment about five minutes before, and I didn’t see any fire.”

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Casey was one of 23 people listed as living in the building, which she said was Building 9. No one was injured in the fire, which destroyed the building. The cause of the fire is undetermined, pending an investigation by authorities.

Warren County Emergency Management Director John Elfer said firefighters were called to the fire at about 2 p.m. Another resident at the apartment complex said she saw flames coming from the eaves of the porch of a third-floor apartment at Building 9 about 1:50 p.m.

“I walked outside and there was a man standing on the sidewalk and he said, ‘That building’s on fire.’ I went back in and called 911,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, said.

Firefighters from the Culkin, Bovina, LeTourneau, Fisher Ferry and Northeast volunteer fire departments and the Vicksburg Fire Department’s ambulance service responded to the fire.

Warren County Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs said Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk offered the use of the city’s platform truck, but water pressure at the site was not sufficient to accommodate the truck’s 2,000 gallons per minute pump.

Briggs said a sheriff’s deputy arriving on the scene reported fire coming from the roof area.

“This building had a common attic and not separated by firewalls, so there was nothing to slow the fire down,” Briggs said, adding firefighters tried to contain the fire on the third floor but were unsuccessful.

Heat from the fire threatened a neighboring building, warping and melting the siding on the wall of the building and forcing firefighters to take action to protect the building. Radiant heat from the blaze also damaged siding on two buildings directly across the parking lot from the burning building.

The blaze was the third major fire at the apartment complex, which was built in 1996.

A fire in January 2002 destroyed 10 units in a building at the complex, and in April 2011, a fire destroyed Building 8, which was next to the building that burned Monday.

According to Briggs, both buildings have since been rebuilt to stronger building standards.

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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