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Woman tries to put out fire, suffers smoke inhalation


Tim Pratt



STARKVILLE -- A Starkville woman was treated for minor smoke inhalation this weekend after fire broke out in her home on Highway 25 South and she tried to extinguish the blaze herself. 


The Starkville Fire Department was dispatched just before noon Saturday to a duplex at 1429 Highway 25 S., in the Conner Heights subdivision, for a report of a residential fire. The resident, Carlene Ware, had arrived home to find a small fire in the kitchen/laundry area, SFD Chief Rodger Mann said.  


Ware attempted to put out the blaze with two fire extinguishers and suffered minor smoke inhalation, Mann said. Starkville firefighters arrived at the scene and extinguished the blaze; Ware was transported to Oktibbeha County Hospital, where she was treated and released, Mann said.  


"A small fire can still produce a lot of smoke," Mann said. 


Mann described the damage to Ware''s apartment as "light to moderate," but said it is now uninhabitable.  


Ware and her son, who was not home at the time of the blaze and was not identified by fire officials, were displaced due to the damage, though it is unclear where they are staying now. The Oktibbeha County Red Cross was unaware of the fire when contacted Monday.  


Smoke damage was limited to Ware''s unit, Mann said. Starkville fire officials planned to investigate the scene Monday to try to determine a cause. 


"On something like this, they''ll come in today and start working the scene," Mann said Monday. "It wasn''t like the Academy Crossing fire (on Dec. 28, 2009) where the situation dictated they start working the scene right then." 


It is still unclear if smoke detectors in the duplex were working, Mann said.  


The Conner Heights subdivision is located about one-half mile south of Academy Crossing Apartments, where fire broke out during the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2009, and killed nine people sleeping in one unit.  


Killed in the Academy Crossing blaze were 25-year-old India Williams and her three children, Jacorian Vasser, 6, Richard Vasser Jr., 5, and Kamarion Williams, 2; Castella Maria Bell, 18, and her three children, Ta''Nayia Bell, 4, Jayvion Bell, 3, and Sumaya Bell, 6 months; and Lakesha Gillespie, 20. 


Bell and her children recently had fallen on hard times and moved in with Williams and Gillespie, who shared the apartment, neighbors said. 


Mann on Monday encouraged local residents to check their smoke detectors.




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