Cigarette may have sparked fatal apartment fire in Starkville

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney says authorities have narrowed down the cause of a Starkville apartment fire two weeks ago that killed nine people.

Chaney tells The Clarion-Ledger that electrical engineers at State Farm examined what remained of the apartment and probably will rule out an electrical fire. He says that leaves a smoldering cigarette left on a chair as the likely cause.

The Dec. 28 fire deaths at the Academy Crossing apartment complex included six children ages 6 and under. It was the worst fatal fire to strike Mississippi in modern history.

Starkville Fire Chief Rodger Mann said fire officials are hoping to meet Wednesday to talk about the cause and come to a unanimous agreement.