D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Very carefully, demolition crews are tearing down the Arbor View apartment building that used to be home to 20 families. The building burst into flames on Mardi Gras evening, and federal agents have charged one of the tenants with starting the blaze.
Residents were able to save some personal belongings, but the rest of their possessions and debris from the fire are being scooped up by bulldozers and dumped in the trash.
"The people who own the complex have hired people to go in and clean it out, demolish the old structure and they are just about, I'd say, 80 percent complete with that," D'Iberville City Manager Bobby Eleuterius said.
The building was a total loss, but crews are hoping to be able to save the concrete slab. That is why it is taking crews more than a week to complete the job.
Early next week crews expect to be finished with the demolition, and then the city will come in for an inspection.
"We will get the firemen, fire marshal, to look at it. At that point all they will have to do is come in with their architect, ask for a permit and they can start construction, because everything has already been approved prior to the fire," Eleuterius said. "The only difference in this new building and what is there is that they will have a sprinkler system in this one."
Skipping the plan approval stage means families will be able to return home sooner.
"We can hopefully get these people back into their homes, and of course it is 17 or 18 families that need a place to stay, so the faster we can get things completed the faster they will come back," Eleuterius said.
Officials with the apartment complex said many of those who lost their homes will be back. The builder told WLOX News he hopes it will only take about three months to complete the new building.
This weekend Arbor View Apartments is hosting an appreciation party to thank all of those who responded to the fire and are helping them rebuild.