Hudson fire being re-examined

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NATCHEZ — The ongoing investigation of the fire at attorney Kent Hudson’s office has yielded few details investigators are willing to release.

“This is an investigation, there are things we cannot release now,” Deputy state Fire Marshal Scott Barnes said. “We just can’t share some aspects, we’re still looking at everything.”

In January, then again in April, Hudson returned from lunch to find his downtown office in flames.

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While no official cause for the first fire was ever given, it was believed the blaze was not intentional.

But in April when Hudson’s second office, which is across the street from his primary Main Street location, burned, Barnes said he felt coincidence was too great and called the fire “suspicious.”

Officials from the Natchez Fire Department initially said they believed an air purifier was the source of the blaze.

However, Barnes said as the second investigation progressed information surfaced that warranted further investigation.

And Barnes said April’s fire has prompted him to re-examine the circumstances of January’s fire.

“We felt we needed to go back to take a closer look,” he said.

Just after the first fire, rumors pointed at Hudson’s SUV parked in the rear of his office as a possible source of the fire.

But Barnes said no official cause for the first fire has ever been listed and the investigation has not been officially closed.

And Barnes is not alone in his suspicious about the fire.

Hudson, like Barnes, has said he felt the fire is suspicious.

And last week insurance investigators were at the scene of the April fire doing their own investigation, Hudson said.

“Right now we don’t know much and there’s no new information,” Hudson said. “They’re looking at everything.”

Hudson has estimated it could take a month or more to refurbish the office he lost in April’s fire.

Barnes said there is no timeline to have the investigation completed.