Wind-Blown Fire Claims Three Mobile Homes

Tillatoba firemen spray water on a mobile home that caught fire last Thursday afternoon. The scorched background shows the path of the fire as is spread across several acres, eventually consuming three mobile homes and damaging another. – Photos by David Howell

Motorists traveling Hwy. 32 West last Thursday found a multitude of emergency vehicles working to extinguish a woods fire. The fire was on the south side of the highway (right) but managed to jump the road. A dead tree was the only casualty on the north side of the highway, and Corps officials cut down the tree and sprayed water on it.

Firemen spray water on a home and the woods that caught fire last Thursday afternoon.

Firefighter Ronny Stark offers encouragement to a near -victim of last Thursday’s fire. Stark, Billy Flippin and several others knocked back the blaze which has surrounded this dogs pen. Chief Deputy Jerry Ferguson also unleashed a second pit bull as the fire burned toward it. The photographer found the dog later, hiding under his vehicle, but was pleased to see it was all bark and no bite.

By David Howell
Editor

WATER VALLEY – Investigators spent Friday morning digging through the rubble of a fire that consumed three mobile homes and burned several acres on Hwy. 32, several miles east of Oakland. A fourth home was damaged as the wind helped spread the blaze before firefighters arrived on the scene.

    Firefighters from Velma, Tillatoba, Oakland and Water Valley responded when the fire was toned out just after lunch last Thursday.

    “When I got there, smoke was blanketing the road, making visibility very poor,” said Sheriff Lance Humphreys, who arrived at the scene prior to the firefighters. Traffic was blocked  until the wind calmed.

    “We called the state investigator because multiple homes were damaged,” Yalobusha County Fire Investigator Frank Hyde said about the investigation.  An investigator from the U.S. Forestry Service also helped assisted in the investigation, as the crew  sifted through the rubble, searching for the origin of the fire.

    Although foul play has not been ruled out, potential liability issues were an equally important factor that prompted the extensive investigation which included aerial photos taken of the scene following the fire, according to Hyde.

    “The wind changed directions several times making it difficult to track the fire,” Hyde said about the investigation. Hyde also reported that it appeared that the fire burned for a while before anyone reported the blaze.

    “We have just about ruled out the fire starting from a structure, it appears to have started from a woods fire,” Hyde added.

    Two of the mobile homes destroyed were weekend cabins, while the third was a permanent residence. Only one of the homes was insured, according to Hyde.

    Two of the mobile homes burned were located on Hwy. 32, and the third was located on County Road 296, a short road that runs parallel to the highway.

    Other officials that responded to the fire included a trooper with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, an ambulance crew from Yalobusha General Hospital and U.S. Corps officials.

Other Fires

    Firefighters in the county remained busy after a trailer caught fire at 478 CR176 just after 4 p.m. Friday.

    On Saturday, Oakland firefighters responded to a porch fire.

    

 

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