Friday, 14 November 2014

Fire marshal rules out arson in Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum fire

It is not yet known what sparked Thursday afternoon's fire. Jackson fire officials said the blaze appears to have started in the barn, which was destroyed along with the veterinary infirmary. The fire also did significant damage to the museum's maintenance shop, agriculture officials said.
Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said his office took over the investigation from the Jackson Fire Department because the Ag Museum on Lakeland Drive is state property.
"We are slowly piecing together what happened and working out the details to determine the cause of the fire," Chaney said. "I can tell you that it was not arson. It was some type of accidental fire."
An employee suffered minor injuries in the fire. There were animals inside the barn when the fire started. Most of the animals were able to escape, authorities said. Ag Museum employees are still trying to account for a few of the smaller animals.
"At this time I think we had four ponies, two mules, one cow, two or three rabbits and a handful of chickens," said Andy Prosser, the deputy commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture.
Gov. Phil Bryant toured the damage Friday afternoon. 
"We are incredibly grateful for the Jackson Fire Department and their extraordinary efforts to extinguish and control the fire throughout the night assuring that no more history was destroyed," said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith. "While we have some broken hearts, the most important thing is that no lives were lost and everyone is safe."
Greg Travis, chief arson investigator for JFD, said the blaze was a two-alarm fire. 
Travis said the fire was on the north side of the complex. He said firefighters were trying to put out some parts of the fire in one of the buildings Thursday evening.
"The wind was blowing, but I think the firefighters did a great job in containing the fire to those remote areas where it was," Travis said.

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