Morning fire engulfs Poplarville

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, December 21, 2006

An entire city block in the center of town was consumed by an early morning fire here Thursday that drew over 50 firefighters from the area.

The Masonic Lodge, The Other Side, and The Cloze Closet, were completely destroyed in the blaze.

Poplarville Mayor Billy Spiers said it appeared the fire started somewhere in the rear of the block, possibly in the larger portion of the building being rented by Belinda and Lawrence Holden, owners of The Other Side. That area is owned by the Masonic Lodge, Holden said.

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Poplarville Fire Chief Kris Foster said it was too early to know what caused the fire, other than it was possibly electrical in nature.

Foster said at least seven volunteer units, plus Poplarville and Picayune, responded to the fire. Picayune sent its ladder truck which could be seen directing a stream of water over the center of the block.

The fire call came in at 3:15 a.m., Foster said.Spiers said when the electricity was down because of the fire, it cut power to the city water well. He said fortunately the city’s two new generators kicked in to prevent loss of water service.

“In other words, we wouldn’t have had no water,” Spiers said. “Serious.”

Mark Bridgers, owner of the Radio Shack directly across the street from the Masonic Lodge, said he got a call about 3:30 or 4 a.m. about the fire. He said the fire could clearly be seen shooting into the sky from the south end of town.

He said by the time he arrived, the fire was fully engaged ands he barely had time to rescue his business truck parked next to the Masonic Building.

Firefighters kept a steady stream of water on the south side of his building to prevent the blaze from spreading across the street at that point.

Rita Cooley, owner of The Cloze Closet, a consignment store, said as soon as she could find a new site she planned to reopen. This was the best store of the two she operates, even though it was the smaller of the two stores, she said.

“I’m going to reopen as soon as I find a place to reopen,” she said.