Adams County veteran escapes house fire, loses possessions

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 27, 2016

NATCHEZ — One Natchez man lost everything last weekend, but for now, he said he wants for nothing but his memories.

Adams County resident Roosevelt “Bo” Mitchell, 64, escaped his burning house Sunday evening on Eagle’s Nest Road in Adams County.

Mitchell, who had lived in the same house since 1979, said his needs are taken care of, for now.

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He is currently staying with his younger sister, Gloria Tucker, and her husband.

Tucker said she received a call from Mitchell’s neighbors at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, saying her brother’s house was in flames.

“I told them, ‘Get him out, get him out,’” she said. “They said, ‘He’s here, we have him.’ And I said, ‘Don’t let him go back in.’”

The neighbors did as Tucker asked, and did not allow Mitchell to try to save any of his possessions.

“He lost everything,” Tucker said.

The Natchez Fire Department was unable to tell the family what had caused the fire, Tucker said.

Mitchell said he appreciated the efforts of the fire department, his two brothers, Isaac and Michael, as well as many other family members, friends and neighbors who came to comfort and support Mitchell the night of the fire.

Mitchell, who served in the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic during the Vietnam War, has also received help from Veterans Affairs and a local nonprofit, Home with Heroes.

Tucker said she called the VA the day after the fire in order to replace his medications, which were lost with the house. Mitchell also had to be treated for mild smoke injuries to his eyes.

VA Service Officer Sonjagela Johnson then contacted Home with Heroes President Mark LaFrancis, who set to work to identify what else Mitchell needed.

Home with Heroes is a local volunteer organization that offers a variety of services to veterans in Adams County, from lawn care to scholarships.

For Mitchell, those services included some basic toiletry items and a few wardrobe pieces.

LaFrancis said the organization could put together a larger project to provide Mitchell more services, but is unsure what is needed.

“That’s up to the family and not us,” he said.

When asked what else was needed, Mitchell only shook his head.

Tucker said they have considered moving Mitchell into their late parents’ nearby home, which is still owned by the family but is currently unoccupied.

Tucker and Mitchell visited the burned house Thursday to collect what they could.

Their father’s truck, Mitchell’s fishing boat and some family photo albums survived the blaze, but his fishing trophies, books and clothing were unsalvageable.

“All that is just material,” Tucker said, holding her weeping brother Thursday. “He was out, so I knew everything else would fall in place.”