Fire chief's family devastated by house fire

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Vancleave Fire Chief Jimmy Green responded to a call just before 7pm Sunday night to a burning home he knows all too well. The home belongs to his wife's grandmother, Helen Parker.

"I deal with these things all the time, and this one is just, its unreal,"Green said while walking around a charred and gutted home. "It's hard when you're in the house fighting fire, pushing your child's toys out of the way."

His children are the family's third generation to grow up in Parker's house on Gautier-Vancleave Road. The fire ensured they would be the last.

"It's one of our worst ones, as far as just a fire, that we've seen in a while," Green said.  "Just the heat and the fuel load in the house was high."

"There was no sheet rock in the walls," said Parker's son-in-law, Brad Cox. "Just that tight paneling part, moved from room to room pretty fast."

Firefighters say they arrived about five minutes after they got the call, but at that point, there was just no saving the home. So they just pulled things out that they thought could be saved.  The few things that were saved are covered in ash on the front lawn.

"There was a lot more we would have liked to have gotten out, but we were trying to stop the fire," said Green.

The fire department has returned to the house twice since then to put out every little ember. The stuff might be gone, but this family's fond memories will stay with them forever.

"This is a real tight family. I mean they do everything together, and just memories in the house," said Cox. "You know that's what hurts so bad. Nobody was hurt physically, but everything, I mean everything is still in everybody's heart."

The family plans to rebuild the house as quickly as possible.