Two fires take a life, damage homes

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 14, 2015

FIRE DAMAGE: This home on Greenview Drive suffered major damage as a result of a fire on Friday morning. Submitted Photo

FIRE DAMAGE: This home on Greenview Drive suffered major damage as a result of a fire on Friday morning.
Submitted Photo

Firefighters in the county and within Picayune fought two fires over the week, one of them involved the death of a resident.
The first fire was called in to volunteer fire departments on Wednesday just after 11:30 that night, said Pearl River County Fire Marshal Albert Lee.
Firefighters with Southeast, Carriere, McNeill, Nicholson and Lee Town volunteer fire departments responded within ten minutes to a home located at 300 Old Creek Road. Lee said it took until about 1 a.m. to get the fire under control.
Once the flames were extinguished the firefighters found a resident was still inside. Lee said the woman was identified as 49-year-old Brenda Rapenske. Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage said the cause of death was due to smoke inhalation.
Lee said an investigation into the cause of the fire, in conjunction with the State Fire Marshal’s office and the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, determined the cause to be accidental. Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said foul play has been ruled out.
Lee suspects that Rapenske’s medical condition, combined with her smoking habit, could have been contributing factors. Lee said he was informed that she was a smoker who was taking strong medications to treat her medical condition. It’s suspected that she fell asleep while smoking a cigarette.
Two dogs also perished in the fire. Lee said a pit bull and one of her puppies were inside during the fire.
Tucker said a neighbor reported releasing other dogs being kept in a pen adjacent to the home before they were harmed.
Another fire worked by Picayune Fire Department personnel took place Friday. Assistant Fire Chief John Mark Mitchell said the department received a call of a fire at 125 Greenview Drive at 11:31 that morning. Firefighters arrived three minutes later to find the home fully involved but were able to knock the flames down within 20 minutes. However, they stayed until close to 1 p.m. to put out the remaining hot spots.
Mitchell said people were home when the fire broke out, but were able to escape without injury.
A cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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