The fire at 902 Dewitt was started when embers from the fire next door at 906 Dewitt landed on the roof. You couldn’t see a thing from outside the structure.
Captain Doug Holman, as a precaution, wanted to inspect the home before firefighters and all their equipment left the scene. His suspicions proved right. Just after entering the home he saw smoke and said “we’ve got a fire.”
The fire proved to be a tough one.
The home had several layers of roofing and sheeting on it. Inside the home, there was a wooden wall covering, tongue and groove slats and, on top of that, sheetrock, according to firefighters. All those layers created a situation where the fire was able to smolder until it was hot enough to ignite.
You couldn’t see a thing from the outside.
Once Captain Holman discovered the smoke a search was on to find the fire. An attic level window was opened and the fire almost immediately showed itself on a mattress near the window. Flames were visible from the street and firefighters sprung into action quickly, putting out the mattress fire. However, the dark smoke emanating from the roof told firefighters that the mattress wasn’t the only thing that caught fire.
The fire was in between the roof and the wall coverings and it was spreading.
The next two hours were spent chasing down the spreading fire that was in cramped spaces, densely packed and burning very hot. The immense heat caused the next layer to ignite and firefighters spent almost 2 hours chasing the hot spot, putting it out and then chasing the next hot spot. Large sections of the roof were removed with axes and chainsaws during that two-hour period.
A fresh crew arrived at the fire just after 7 a.m. to relieve the team that had been fighting the fire all night. Firefighters with names rooted deep in Vicksburg history. Names like McRaven, Claiborne and Holman.
At 7:42 a.m., more than four hours after firefighters arrived on Dewitt, the last wisp of smoke wafted away from the home.
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