Coast fire at WIN center deliberately set, police say

Published 7:27 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2006

An October fire at the WIN Job Center here was intentionally set, said Pascagoula Fire Inspector Todd McClung.

McClung filed an incident report on the fire with the Pascagoula Police Department on Monday, stating the Oct. 12 fire was arson-related.

The building engulfed in smoke quickly after the alarm sounded at approximately 10:30 a.m., WIN interviewer Brad Simons has said.

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There were approximately 25 to 30 employees in the center, which also includes Gulf Coast Community College and vocational rehab offices. No one was injured.

The fire was contained to one room at the rear of the building. Initially, the fire appeared to be electrical, McClung said. There is an estimated $10,000 in damages, he said.

Marilyn Minor, center director, said the fire started in a file room were financial records and client information are stored.

Brad Simons, another WIN employee, said Tuesday that the center used trailers or mobile units for two or three days after the fire. The center was up and fully functioning within a few days, he said.

“We just didn’t have overhead lights or heat or air, but we had our computers up and were functioning within two days,” Simons said. This was the second fire at the facility, which opened in December of 2005 to help hurricane victims find work.

The fire department was called to the scene of a fire in May. However, employees were able to extinguish the small blaze, which started when a box of toilet tissue in the break room caught fire./