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Holly Springs church a total loss after fire; arson suspected

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The First Pentecostal Church in Holly Springs was apparently the target of arson. (Photo source: Facebook)

A church in Holly Springs, Mississippi, embroiled in a lawsuit was apparently the target of an arsonist.

Firefighters were called to the First Pentecostal Church around 2 a.m. Wednesday to find the building fully engulfed in a blaze. The building is a total loss.

The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office said they found evidence to suggest someone intentionally set the blaze, reports WREG.

“We’ve collected evidence and stuff we are trying to get identified through several different companies and stuff to perhaps give us some leads and lead us in a direction we can find the person or persons responsible for this fire,” Major Kelly McMillen told the station.

In a Facebook post, the Manassas Pentecostal Church in Virginia wrote that the church refused to shut down due to COVID19 restrictions.

“The Church was set ablaze today,” the post stated, “causing a major explosion in the back of the Church which blew out the front. Before leaving, the Arsonists spray painted these words in the pavement, “BET YOU STAY HOME NOW YOU HYPOKRITS.”

(Photo source: Facebook)

It is not clear where the Virginia church got its information; however, there is much more to the story.

In April, the Holly Springs church sued the town for disrupting its bible study and its Easter Sunday services, and for issuing its pastor a citation for not following the town’s COVID-19 proclamation banning drive-in services, the Christian Post reports.

“On both occasions, Holly Springs law enforcement personnel ignored the fact that all church members present were practicing social distancing and complying with all applicable health requirements,” the church’s attorney said in a statement.

As a result of the suit, a federal judge issued an order saying that neither Holly Springs nor its police force could interfere with the church’s drive-in services. Holly Springs quickly amended its proclamation to allow drive-in church services.

Despite the order and the change to the proclamation, church members continued the suit, reports courthousenews.com. A widely circulated video shows church members protesting the proclamation at a local Walmart.

The same judge issued a stern rebuke when the church sought to expedite the lawsuit May 15.

“[The court] frankly suspects that plaintiff’s members regard this controversy as a game of sorts and enjoy the publicity attendant to it,” he wrote. “This court’s suspicions on this point are strengthened by the manner in which plaintiff has sought to move the goalposts in this litigation after the City moved quickly to meet its initial request to hold drive-in services.”

WREG reports that the church has not been holding services due to COVID-19 restrictions, and that the pastor was out of town at the time of the incident.

The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest. If you have information, call 662-521-1311.

Fire

Warren County home destroyed in early morning fire

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

A house on West Drive off Naylor Road in Warren County has been destroyed by fire Tuesday morning.

The fire had fully engulfed the home by the time firefighters arrived just after 6:30 a.m.

The homeowner escaped with minor injuries, and fire medics checked to make sure he was not suffering from smoke inhalation. He refused transport to the hospital.

A General Motors pickup truck and a boat trailer parked near the home were also destroyed.

(photo by Thomas Parker)

(photo by Thomas Parker)

Firefighters from all over the county responded to help extinguish the flames. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

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Fire

Polk Street home destroyed in overnight blaze

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(photo submitted by VDNews reader)

An overnight fire on Polk Street has left one home destroyed and two neighboring homes damaged.

(photo by Thomas Parker)

The fire at 1028 Polk Street was first reported at 12:53 a.m. Sunday as a burning mattress on the front porch. Vicksburg Fire Department Battalion Chief Henry Williams said that the house was heavily involved upon firefighters’ arrival, and VFD spent several hours battling the blaze.

Engines 6, 7, 8, Platform 1, Rescue, Fire Medic 40 and Battalion 1 responded to extinguish the fire.

(photo by Thomas Parker)

According to Vicksburg Fire Department Chief Craig Danczyk, the structure is a total loss. The homes at 1026 Polk Street and 1030 Polk Street also received damage.

There were no injuries reported.

 

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Fire

Early morning house fire on Bowmar Avenue – VIDEO

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Photo by Thomas Parker

A home on Bowmar Avenue caught fire just before 3 a.m. Friday.

Vicksburg Police Deputy Chief Bobby Stewart was the first to arrive, and he found that the house was already heavily involved with smoke showing.

No one was injured in the blaze. Neighbors report that the house is vacant and undergoing renovations.

(photo by Thomas Parker)

According to Chief Danczyk, it appears that the fire started in the rear of the house.  A full investigation into the cause and origin of the blaze will be conducted.

Engines 6, 7, Platform 1, Rescue, Fire Medic 40, along with Battalion 1 (Carl Carson) and Fire Chief Craig Danczyk all responded to help extinguish the fire.

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