JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County fire investigators have now determined where this weekend's massive woods fire started, but they still don't know who caused it. They said the fire started between Plymouth and Tapp Roads in Ocean Springs, and burned 850 acres of land to Highway 57.
The fire forced the evacuation of nearly 60 residents the at Sunplex Rehabilitation Center. Monday, nurses lined the sidewalk of the center to welcome those patients home.
Head Nurse Vanessa Muller said some sleepless nights followed the controlled scramble to move patients away from the approaching woods fire.
"In a million years, I never would have thought there was a potential for an event, and it is always good to be prepared," Muller said.
Administrator April Eppestin said Mueller is absolutely right. When flames started spreading and the smoke started rising, she knew it was going to be an ugly situation.
"We were concerned, really, about the smoke and it settling down in our area and the evacuation order was right," Eppestin said.
The staff had to move the patients to three separate facilities in Biloxi and Pascagoula. That was a challenge in itself. But they are pleased everyone was moved to safety.
"We have to be ready at all times."
Forestry Commission officials said the woods fire that burned hundreds of acres in Jackson County was 95 percent contained as of Monday evening. But firefighters are still on the ground and in the air monitoring the burned areas. They said they still have to be on guard for nearby homes and businesses.
The Forestry Commission said the fire spread at least six miles over the weekend. If anyone has any information on who started the blaze, please call the Jackson County Sheriff's Department at (228) 769-3063.