Louisiana plantation house built in 1815 burns to ground

Published 6:53 am Saturday, July 27, 2019

FROGRMORE, Louisiana — When Lynette Tanner arrived home at Frogmore Plantation from work Friday evening, she couldn’t tell anything was wrong other than the fire alarms blaring, she said.

“I heard a loud crash and thought my husband (Buddy Tanner) had fallen,” she said. “I ran up the steps to check on him and that’s when I found the smoke. We just grabbed everything we could and got out.”

Concordia Fire District 2 Chief Nolen Cothren said his department received the call at 7:51 p.m. that a fire was at Frogmore Plantation. Frogmore is located on U.S. 84 approximately 20 miles west of Natchez, Mississippi.

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However, by the time the call was received, it was too late.

“This is my 30th year, and this has been my terror all those years — this house catching fire,” Cothren said. “We don’t have fire hydrants out here.”

Cothren said his men, with assistance from Sandy Lake, Jonesville, Ferriday, Vidalia and Monterey fire departments and Tensas Fire District 1 tried to fight the blaze for several hours.

Two firefighters got overheated fighting the fire but are OK and no other injuries were reported

“They’ve all been working on it, and continue to work on it, but this wood has had 200 years to dry,” Cothren said. “It’s like paper. We even thought we had the fire knocked out at one point, but it was so hot upstairs it came right back.”

Tanner said the house, with the exception of the kitchen that had been added in 1997, was built in 1815.

With the exception of a few pictures and jewelry, not much was saved, Tanner said, adding she and her husband would stay at a lake house they own for now.

Cothren said the cause of the fire is still unknown and that firefighters would continue to monitor the fire and try to keep it contained overnight.

“Once you get to this point, it’s just a matter of cleaning up and keeping it contained,” Cothren said. “There’s not much else we can do.”

Tanner and her husband bought the property in 1960 and lived in the house, which wasn’t part of the Frogmore Plantation tours, Tanner said, adding the remainder of the grounds would remain open.

“The house really wasn’t part of the tour,” she said. “Just the cotton field and the surrounding buildings are. The house was just our home. We’ll have the rest open for tour for a group on Sunday.”