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Pearl River County building in Poplarville a total loss after fire early Thursday

A Pearl River County building that houses Child Protective Services and the MSU Extension Service offices caught fire early Thursday morning.

The Poplarville Fire Department responded at approximately 3:21 a.m. to a report that smoke was coming from a building located at 417 Highway 11 North, according to a press release from the Poplarville Fire Department.

Firefighters arrived seven minutes after the call was dispatched and saw fire venting from the roofline.

First responders called for mutual aid. Multiple agencies responded, including the following volunteer fire departments: Amackertown, Derby, North Central, Henleyfield, Carriere and McNeill. The Poplarville Police Department, the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and the Pearl River Community College Police Department also responded to assist and provide traffic control.

“The firefighters and officers of the Poplarville Fire Department cannot express our gratitude enough for the assistance provided by these agencies,” the release states.

The fire was brought under control at approximately 8:30 a.m. and fire personnel cleared the scene at 11:14 a.m.

No one was injured. The building sustained heavy fire damage, said Fire Chief Jason Bannister. Half of the building is destroyed and due to smoke and water damage, the building is a complete loss.

Due to the type of construction, the fire was extremely difficult to extinguish, according to the release. Bannister said the building was a commercial structure with a common shared storage space above the office spaces, which gave the fire access to the entire length of the building and the roof. As a result, the fire damaged the entire roof of the structure.

The MSU Extension Service announced the Pearl River County office will relocate to a temporary office at 204 South Julia Street behind the county courthouse by April 16 due to “irreparable damage” from the fire. The main office number, 601-403-2280, is still active for clients in need of assistance.

According to the MSU press release, County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the building’s north side was struck by lightning. Bannister said that is a possibility and there is a video of lightning striking in the area, but the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Child Protective services will temporarily relocate to the old county Tax Office on Poplarville’s Main Street, said Lumpkin. The office has been vacant and it may be until the end of next week before the space is prepared for use, but Child Protective services are still operating even without a physical office space.