Alderman’s house destroyed in firePublished 5:34pm Sunday, August 12, 2012
NATCHEZ — Ward 2 Alderman Rickey Gray said he is counting his blessings and thanking God he was not home early Sunday morning when a fire destroyed his North Union Street home.stressed
Gray said he returned from Tunica just after midnight and was at Walmart when he received a call that his house was on fire.
Gray’s house was 70 percent engulfed in flames, and the house just a few feet away, which belonged to Gray’s grandmother before she died, was 50 percent engulfed when the Natchez Fire Department arrived at approximately 1:20 a.m., Battalion Chief David Williams said.
Gray lost everything in the fire.
“There are a lot of material things I lost, old photographs, trophies, but I’m just blessed I wasn’t there,” Gray said as he propped his arms on the carport at his car wash on Martin Luther King Jr. Street Sunday afternoon.
Gray said he stayed up through the night so he could be the first one to his house to see if he could salvage anything.
“It’s all gone,” he said.
The outpouring from the community, Gray said, has been overwhelming.
“I am receiving calls from everywhere,” he said.
Gray said he received a call from Mississippi Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, whom he visited with while in Tunica on city business.
Mayor Butch Brown said he was distraught to learn of Gray’s loss.
“I’ll do everything I can as an individual and the board will, too, to help him in any way we can and help keep him on an even keel and help give him a good restart,” Brown said.
Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, who traveled to Tunica with Gray, said she went to Gray’s house at approximately 2 a.m. after receiving a call about the fire.
“It’s just a tragic situation,” she said.
Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith said Gray could count on everyone to help him in any way possible.
“I can’t even imagine what he is going through,” Smith said. “We’re going to help him out any way we can.”
Williams said the fire department is investigating the cause of the fire and has not yet determined where or how it started.
Gray said he is putting his trust in God to help him through this trying time.
“God is good, and I’m going to keep the faith,” Gray said. “Everything is going to work out.”