UPDATE: No injuries reported after early morning fire razes Victorian-era house
Published 4:15 pm Thursday, July 27, 2023
NATCHEZ — A two-story Victorian-era house at North Union and Monroe streets adjacent to the Natchez water tower was reduced to ashes before daybreak on Thursday. No injuries have been reported, either from house tenants or from the firefighters.
Smoke was still rising from the cinders just before 9 a.m. Thursday, where Natchez firefighters worked to contain any remaining hot spots from the early morning blaze.
All that remained standing was a chimney.
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The burned house was built around 1895 for W.J. Hogan, a downtown merchant who owned the business at 324 Main Street that was once home to Dimples, said Historic Natchez Foundation director emeritus Mimi Miller.
“The building still has the name W.J. Hogan molded in the top of it,” she added.
The adjacent house on North Union suffered charred siding, roof damage and extensive water damage throughout, but thanks to the efforts of firefighters, no flames touched the inside of the house.
However, swells of water could be seen dripping in the ceiling and sheetrock coated the floors. Its owners are out of town, said Historic Natchez Executive Director Carter Burns as he and Miller assessed the damage on Thursday morning.
Apparently, those who were leasing the house that burned were either not at home or they escaped, Natchez Fire Chief Robert Arrington said.
“All we know is they were out of the structure,” he said. “We’re still trying to get some information on who and where they are to see if they can tell us more.”
The house was totally gone before firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after 4 a.m.
“A Natchez police officer actually saw it while out doing regular patrol and called,” Arrington said on the site of the fire Thursday. Neighbors, as they were just waking up in the early morning hours, noticed cinders raining into their front yards after firefighters got there, he added.
“There was debris everywhere.”
Because the house was fully engulfed before anyone saw it, Arrington said the cause would be difficult to investigate.
“There was nothing that we could see that would pinpoint where it might have started, like more burning on one side than the other, so this is going to be a difficult one to investigate.”
The house lit up the city’s adjacent water tower but did not damage the structure. Some paint burned and peeled away from the lower part of the fire-facing side.