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Saturday fire destroys Ridgecrest house

Concordia Fire District 2 firefighters Will Gable, left, and Don Moss, right, use a fire hose to extinguish a house fire on Pearl Street in Ridgecrest.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Concordia Fire District 2 firefighters Will Gable, left, and Don Moss, right, use a fire hose to extinguish a house fire on Plum Street in Ridgecrest. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

RIDGECREST — A Ridgecrest couple escaped their burning house Saturday afternoon with only the clothes on their back.

Elizabeth Vaughn, left, consoles her sister Mary Murray, right, while Murray’s home on Pearl Street in Ridgecrest burns. Murray believes the fire was started by a fryer that the family was using earlier to fry fish. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Elizabeth Vaughn, left, consoles her sister Mary Murray, right, while Murray’s home on Plum Street in Ridgecrest burns. Murray believes the fire was started by a fryer that the family was using earlier to fry fish. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Fire, which the owners believe may have been started by a fryer, destroyed the house and apparently claimed the life of the family’s pet kitten.

“I lived there for six years, but there was a lifetime worth of things that were destroyed,” Mary Murray said.

Around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Ridgecrest Volunteer Fire Department and Concordia Fire District 2 crews responded to a fire at Murray’s home on Plum Street in Ridgecrest.

By the time the fire department arrived the fire was fully involved and the house was destroyed.

“It’s an old house with pine walls; those burn real fast,” said Concordia Fire District 2 Chief Nolen Cothren.

Murray, who was in the back of the house watching television at the time of the fire, believes the blaze was started by a fryer the family was using earlier in the day to fry fish.

Elizabeth Vaughn, left, and Marylin Murray, right, comfort Mary Murray, center, as Murray’s home burns on Pearl Street in Ridgecrest. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Elizabeth Vaughn, left, and Marylin Murray, right, comfort Mary Murray, center, as Murray’s home burns on Plum Street in Ridgecrest. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Upon smelling a fire in the house, Murray got up and called 911. Her husband Bobby Murray, who was also home at the time, began throwing water on the fire, but since it was a grease fire it only fed the flames.

The husband and wife escaped the home safely, but left inside was their kitten Snowball.

“All we have are the clothes on our backs; my beautiful home and my beautiful cat are all gone,” Mary Murray said.

Luckily, Mary and Bobby Murray had family and friends in the neighborhood. Mary Murray’s sister, Elizabeth Vaughn, and daughter-in-law, Marylin Murray, were there to console her.

Among those that came to assist the Murrays was Ridgecrest’s mayor Bobby Sheppard Sr., who has known the Murray’s for a longtime.

“We are a tightknit community; we are going to support them,” Sheppard said.

The couple will be staying at with Mary Murray’s mother in Vidalia.

The family requests any offer of assistance be directed to the Murrays, who can be reached at 318-719-4040 or to Elizabeth Vaughn at 601-807-1042.