When the fire alarm goes off, Clarksdale firefighters respond and face the same dangers whether it is an accidental fire or arson.
Clarksdale Fire Chief Rocky Nabors said the department responded to a call earlier this week that is believed to be arson and thankfully none of his men were hurt.
The fire was in the 500 block of Cherry Street and was next to a house that firefighters also believe was destroyed by arson last year.
“This is actually the first fire that we believe to be arson that we have responded to in a while,” said Nabors. “We went through a rash of them last summer, but it has really slowed down this winter.”
Nabors urged the community to call 911 the minute they see smoke in their house or coming from a neighbor’s house.
He also encouraged neighbors to be good neighbors and call police if they see kids or anybody around a vacant house.
“A lot of times kids get inside and start a fire, but sometimes it is more deliberate and someone is trying to get away from paying taxes,” said Nabors. “And sometimes it is people in the neighborhood who are tired of an abandoned house.”
Nabors said while arson is hard to prove, the department does know how to spot possible arson.
Houses that have the utilities off, no one lives there and then still catch fire are given a closer look with tools that can determine if accelerants such as gasoline or other flammables were used to start a fire.
“I also want to point out every fire is dangerous to my men and the houses around it,” said Nabors. “There can be chemicals or things inside that blow up or just the fire shifting and blowing on a firefighter that can hurt them.”
Nabors said his job as chief is to make sure every Clarksdale firefighter goes home after his shift.
He urged anyone with information about a possible fire or arson to call the Clarksdale Fire Department at 662-627-8486.