Authorities are trying to find out the identity of man who died in a fire in the 600 block of Page Street sometime over the Labor Day weekend or early this week.
Police reports on Wednesday afternoon said Clarksdale Police and the Clarksdale Fire Department were called to a vacant house on fire in north Clarksdale, two blocks off State Street, at 8:35 p.m.
As the fire department put out the fire a body was discovered in the house.
The Coahoma County Coroner Scotty Meredith was called and the man was pronounced dead at the scene. It is not known if the man died prior to the fire and that will be determined by an autopsy.
At this point the identity, age or other distinguishing features has not been released by authorities. The man is being described at a black male.
Police reports list the case as an Arson/Death and the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s office, the Clarksdale Fire Department and the Clarksdale Police Department are working the fire investigation and trying to identify the man.
Clarksdale Assistant Police Chief Norman Starks is asking the community to check on friends, family and people in their neighborhood to help determine who this man might be.
Police and fire officials are asking anyone who might have information on what they believe to be arson, to please contact police immediately.
The Clarksdale Police Department can be reached at 621-8156, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or simply dial 911. The Clarksdale Fire Department can be reached at 662-627-8484 and the State Fire Marshal’s office can be reached 601-359-1062. All calls remain anonymous and cash is paid to those providing information that leads to solving a crime.
There are varying degrees of arson with First Degree Arson defined as “willfully and maliciously” setting fire to a dwelling house (occupied, vacant, or unoccupied). A conviction can result in a prison sentence of from five to 20 years in prison and the payment of damages caused by the fire.
Arson that results in a death, or a murder that is followed by arson can be a capital offense and can result in a life sentence and even a death sentence, depending on the circumstances.
Person with knowledge of such crimes, who fail to come forward, can also be charged with crimes that carry prison sentences.