Ocean Springs woods fire determined accidental, caused by young person with a lighter

Smoke is still soaring into the sky in Jackson County after a brush fire burned more than a hundred acres today. Tristan Ruppert joins us live in Ocean Springs
Updated: May. 14, 2020 at 2:29 PM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Tuesday’s woods fire in Ocean Springs has been determined as accidental after a joint investigation by city and state officials.

A joint investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean Springs Fire Department, and the Ocean Springs Police Department determined that the fire was the result of a juvenile playing with a lighter.

Jason Scott, MFC director of information and outreach with the Mississippi Forestry Commission, told WLOX Tuesday that MFC crews had the fire under control and were backburning the fire, as well as focusing on putting out some hot spots on Tuesday night.

The fire, originally located near Riley and Old CCC Camp Road, sent smoke into the sky and stretched over a hundred acres, prompting fire officials to take action on Tuesday afternoon.

The Ocean Springs Fire Department, Jackson County Ground Water Support, and Forestry Service teamed up to fight the flames. At that time, officers were also in the area detouring drivers away from Old CCC Camp Road to ensure their safety.

A fire in Ocean Springs near Riley and Old CCC Camp Road is sending smoke into the sky and prompting fire officials to take action.

Anthony Johnson with the Jackson County Fire Emergency Services said they have kept the fire from reaching nearby structures, and no homes fell victim to the flames. He also said they used a drone to monitor the blaze as spot fires have been popping up due to dry conditions.

Homeowner Melinda Poncet, who lives on Riley Road, said she is thankful and blessed that first responders are working hard to keep residents like her safe.

"It makes me want to cry. I mean I did cry halfway here, and then my husband started crying. When you think you’re going to lose everything, and then you see these wonderful people fighting this fire for us-- I mean saving us-- thank them. God be with them because it’s not done yet. We’re still praying the house doesn’t catch fire,” Poncet said.

Poncet’s home wasn’t the only home that was saved by the responding fire department’s bravery. Crews also kept the flames off Stephanie Hampton’s house.

“Seeing the fire in front of me, feeling the heat I felt like I shouldn’t be here. ‘Should I get out of here? What should I do?’ And at that point, I am very grateful for the professionals who know what they’re doing,” Hampton said.

Hampton also noted that she is praying for the same thing as her neighbor, Melinda Poncet, as she explained her emotions and feelings about the blaze.

“You put your heart and soul into something that your building and growing... your home, your hopes and to think that it could be in danger, and still could be in danger is heartbreaking,” Hampton said.

Luckily, Stephanie’s heart and property were saved Tuesday, thanks to the hard work of close to a dozen fire departments and the Mississippi Forestry Commission. Many of those brave men and women made a point to tell WLOX that Tuesday’s fire shows why residents shouldn’t be burning during these dry conditions.

Officials are working desperately to combat a new brush fire in Ocean Springs. Tristian Ruppert is there and has the very latest on conditions.

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