Report: At least two dead in Mississippi apartment complex fire

Published 10:31 am Sunday, February 26, 2023

A midnight fire at an apartment complex on East Chippewa Street in Brookhaven consumed three of four buildings, injured an unconfirmed number of residents, displaced others, and resulted in at least two unconfirmed deaths.

The deaths have not been confirmed by the office of the Lincoln County Coroner, but a witness to the fire said two of the residents she knew personally had died.

At 12:06 a.m. Sunday, a call came into the Brookhaven Fire Department that the Brookhaven Housing Authority complex was on fire. Firefighters were on the scene in approximately two minutes and found the complex fully involved — the trio of buildings was completely on fire. Volunteer fire departments also helped fight the flames.

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The blaze apparently started in the easternmost building, closest to South First Street, then spread through breezeways into the other buildings. Three investigators from the Mississippi Fire Marshal’s Office were on hand Sunday morning investigating what may have sparked the fire, and what caused it to spread so rapidly.

One firefighter commented that he had never seen fire move so quickly.

Fire Department Chief Jeff Ainsworth and numerous firefighters were still on the scene more than eight hours later, ensuring the fire was completely extinguished.

Ainsworth said residents had been relocated to the Brookhaven Building for shelter — thanks to the use of a Brookhaven School District bus and driver — as early as possible, and that breakfast had been provided. He said several calls had already come in from people offering to help provide meals and other needed items.

Brookhaven pastor the Rev. Phillip Sterling voiced the concern of the city’s citizens with a simple social media post — “Praying for my home town.”