Holiday Proves Busy For Emergency Workers

Oakland Fire Chief James “Ping Pong” Paris stands atop a truck and hoses water into a structure fire on Pecan St. at 3:52 a.m. Friday, July 4. About 20 volunteers from Oakland, Tillatoba, Sylva Rena, Coffeeville and Springhill (Tallahatchie County) responded at 2:52 a.m. along with four trucks. Some of the firefighters remained on the scene until sunrise. – Photo by Jack Gurner

Firefighters were called to a vehicle fire on South St. just after 7:30 p.m. July 4. The actual location was just south of the city limits on CR 100. Water Valley firefighter Sherman Gooch (with hose) and Pine Valley volunteer David Avant had the fire out in less than five minutes after arrival on the scene. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By Jack Gurner
Reporter

TILLATOBA – As most Yalobusha County residents slept in the hours preceding the long holiday weekend, emergency personnel had already responded to a vehicle crash and a fire.

At 2:12 a.m. Friday paramedics and Tillatoba volunteer firefighters were called to the scene of an crash on I-55. A truck headed northbound struck a bridge near mile marker 218. Reports from the scene indicate that the driver was seriously injured.

About 20 minutes later, Oakland volunteer firefighters were dispatched to the home of Gary Denley at 11 Pecan St. The caller told the 911 dispatcher that a man was trapped in the house and calling for help.

Firefighters arriving on the scene said that the initial report of a man trapped was incorrect. However, they began to call for mutual assistance from other departments to fight the structure fire. About 20 volunteers from Oakland, Tillatoba, Sylva Rena, Coffeeville and Springhill (Tallahatchie County) responded along with four trucks.

Neither Denley or his 12-year-old daughter, Annie, was injured in the blaze.

Later, Water Valley firefighters were called to a vehicle fire on South St. just after 7:30 p.m. Friday. The actual location was just a few hundred feet south of the city limits on County Road 100.

The red Dodge was almost fully involved when firemen arrived. Yalonda Ramsey, who escaped from the car with two children said, “We just thank God everybody got out OK.”

Although not in the holiday period, Water Valley firefighters and volunteers responded to a structure fire at 1:55 a.m. Tuesday at 632 Walnut St.

Chief Mike Defer reported that the house was a total loss, but there were no injuries.

Elsewhere during the holiday period, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol had extra troopers on the roads from 6 p.m. July 3 until midnight July 6. “We were trying to keep folks safe and apparently it did work,” said Sgt. Leslie White, spokesperson for the MHSP.

There were no traffic deaths in the MHSP District Three, the ten county area of northwest Mississippi which includes Yalobusha County, according to White.

Troopers did issue 1226 citations and investigated 16 crashes with five injuries, White reported.

Statewide, the MHSP ran additional speed details as well as DUI and seatbelt checkpoints. With the added manpower, over 10,000 citations were written over the holiday period.

White said that being out and being seen is a big help. He related a personal story about stopping a motorist on I-55 Sunday who asked, “Where are all these troopers coming from?”

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