|Caleb Worrell, Jones County Fire Council
LAUREL, Miss. - At 4:24 P.M., Shady Grove and Sharon Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched to the scene of an apartment building fire on Holly Drive at the Laurel North Apartments. While firefighters were en route, a deputy who was on scene advised that part of the building was fully involved. At that time, additional fire units from Calhoun and Soso Volunteer Fire Departments and Laurel Fire Department were requested to assist. Upon arrival, firefighters advised that the fire was spreading rapidly through the attic of the building, catching other apartments on fire. Initial reports stated that everyone was out of the apartment but after arriving on scene, frantic parents were screaming that their children were still trapped inside, and that other adults may have been inside as well. With this pertinent information, firefighters immediately began a search and rescue for anyone still inside of the building. While firefighters attempted to contain the blaze near the source of the fire, other firefighters thoroughly searched each apartment, but thankfully found no one trapped. It was later confirmed that all adults and children were accounted for.
According to reports, there were three dogs inside of one of the apartments. Firefighters were able to rescue two of the dogs but initially were unable to find the other dog. After most of the fire had been brought under control, firefighters located a small plastic kennel inside one of the burned apartments with a dog, still alive, inside. A firefighter on scene stated that he and another firefighter were performing overhaul inside the apartment when they noticed two little eyes looking up at them. Amazed that the dog had survived not only the extreme heat and thick smoke, but also the immense amount of water flowing throughout the building, the firefighters quickly removed the dog from the building and returned it to its owner unharmed.
In the single building that caught fire, four apartments were completely destroyed. It was reported that 17 people had been displaced and Red Cross was called to the scene to assist the homeless families. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
In an incident unrelated to the fire, a young child, who was in an adjacent apartment building, was rushed to meet an awaiting ambulance down the road from the fire and was then transported to South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel. It was unclear what may have happened to the child, but reports described it as a potentially serious situation. No other injuries were reported.
Emergency personnel on scene included Shady Grove, Sharon, Calhoun, Soso and Powers Volunteer Fire Departments, Laurel Fire Department, Jones County Fire Coordinator Dan McKenna, Jones County Fire Public Information Officer, EMServ Ambulance Service, Jones County Sheriff's Department, Jones County Emergency Operations Center, Jones County Fishers Of Men in Action (FOMA) and the America Red Cross.