Fire threatens homes in Gautier neighborhood

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier firefighters said the woods fire that burned several acres of land and forced residents out of their homes for hours is under control. The fire started in a wooded area near Kingfisher Drive north of I-10. The neighbors returned home Monday night, but were still shaken up by the fire.

Gautier residents Cherie Ellzey and Larry Marshall said it was a frightening scene on Kingfisher Drive when the woods fire broke out near their homes.

"I was freaking out," Ellzey said.

"As the wind would blow, you can hear the crackling," Marshall said.

These folks said at one point they feared every home on the block was going to go up in flames. The fire left big, black, hot spots on several lawns.

"I was worried about my house, I was worried their house, and I was trying to get the water hose."

Neighbor Randy Marshall's first reaction was to call 911, because the flames and smoke were so intense. Before authorities could arrive, he and several others went door to door telling as many people as they could to get out.

"It was unreal, it was dry and hot. A lot of kids live out in the houses and the main thing was to get everybody out the houses, then fight the fire," Marshall said. "The firemen came and did a great job, and they were here right on time."

Gautier Fire Department's Lt. Kevin Finn said it took a team effort from several fire departments to battle this blaze.

"With the amount of smoke it puts up, and how far it is in the woods, it is kind of hard to spot and see,"Finn said. "We had a bunch of good guys that helped us keep it off the structures."

Finn estimates that the fire burned about six acres and how it started is still a mystery. As for now, firefighters are just relieved they were able to keep these people and their homes safe.

"The woods will grow back; these structures are people's livelihoods."

The fire is under investigation. This makes the second woods fire in Gautier in the past few weeks.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.