House destroyed in early morning fire

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 11, 2010

NATCHEZ — Ashy beams were all that was left of an abandoned house that caught fire early Wednesday morning.

The Natchez Police Department responded to the fire on Byrne Street at 3:57 a.m., and the Natchez Fire Department arrived shortly before the police arrived.

Byrne Street is a short dead end street off Abbott Street. Abbott Street intersects with St. Catherine Street, one block east of Martin Luther King Jr. Road.

Email newsletter signup

The fire started at 8 Byrne St., but No. 10 Byrne, next door to the right, also caught fire and had extensive damage to its roof and attic.

The house to the left of No. 8, 2 Byrne St., had heat damage, which melted some of the house’s vinyl siding.

All three houses that were damaged Thursday were abandoned.

Natchez Fire Chief Oliver Stewart said investigations have not revealed the cause of the fire, but they know it started in the rear of the house based on where the first flames were spotted.

Stewart said 8 Byrne St., appeared to be maintained and he believed its owners lived outside of Natchez.

Fires at abandoned houses are a common problem, because homeless people, drug users or other intruders sometimes go inside, start fires and leave the house unattended.

Stewart said the fire department responded to a fire this summer at an abandoned house on Abbott Street, just a few houses away from the houses that caught fire Thursday.

Both the fire and police department have ongoing investigations into the fires on Byrne Street.

Stewart said he has discussed with the city planner the possibility of boarding up the abandoned houses.