By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
OKOLONA – A large, older, abandoned wood-frame home caught on fire in Okolona early Thursday morning and the massive blaze burned that house to the ground and damaged another nearby home.
Okolona Fire Chief Terry Tucker said firefighters were called to the corner of Jefferson and Gatlin Street about 4:45 a.m. Thursday and found a 2,000-square-foot, two-story house on fire.
“It was fully involved with fire coming out the windows when we arrived on the scene,” said Tucker. “The house was empty and did not have electricity. The cause of this fire has not been determined and the fire is under investigation.”
Tucker said firefighters got the fire under control about 6:50 a.m.
“It was an old boarding house for railroad crews and apparently had historical value,” said Tucker. “It was a big fire and it burned hot.”
Tucker said the size of the fire made it difficult to fight and one firefighter was injured.
“We had a firefighter suffer a steam burn to his hand,” said Tucker. “No burn is ever minor, but he was treated for it and it looks like he is going to be fine.”
Tucker said the heat generated by the fire melted the vinyl siding off a nearby house and after firefighters extinguished the first blaze, they noticed smoke coming from that house.
“We had been putting water on the second house to keep it cool while we fought the fire at the first house,” said Tucker. “We did enter the second house and found a small fire in the attic. The second house only suffered smoke and water damage.”
The Jefferson/Gatlin street fire was the second empty house with no electricity to catch fire in Okolona this winter. An empty house at 513 West Drive, caught fire in November, severely damaging that structure.