No leads in city arsons…

By Staff
HOT SPOTS  Senior Meridian firefighter Doug Stephens, left, and Meridian firefighter Shane Robinson sift through the rubble at 3818 South St. to make sure there are no burning embers. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 6, 2000
Meridian fire officials say they have no leads in three arsons that occurred early Tuesday morning. All three structures were condemned houses in a four-block radius on Hooper, South and Vally Streets.
Fire Chief Bunky Partridge said two of the houses, on Vally and South streets, burned to the ground. The house on Hooper Street was heavily damaged. A house next door to the South Street fire was damaged from exposure to flames.
The fires are being investigated by the Arson Task Force.
Fire officials issued a warning to residents Tuesday, asking anyone who sees suspicious people or cars near vacant houses to notify fire or police officials.
Meanwhile, an autopsy has revealed that the victim in a fatal fire Saturday night in Lauderdale County died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The fire occurred about 6:30 p.m. at 10896 Henry Wedgeworth Road.
Lauderdale County Coroner Marl Cobler said the report identified the victim as 69-year-old James "Highway" Thomas. His body was found about 6 feet from the front door. A rear door of the home had been barricaded. The fire was caused by an electric heater in Thomas' bedroom, said Lauderdale County Fire Coordinator Clarence Butler.
A friend of the victim, E.B. Gowdy of Kemper County, came to the scene Saturday night when he heard about the fire.
The fire was the first of three in as many days for county volunteer firefighters. Butler said a Monday morning house fire on Water Valley Road is still being investigated, and an early morning house fire today on Highway 19 South will also be investigated.
Firefighters arrived at the Highway 19 South house fire to find the home engulfed in flames, Butler said. A single tenant had escaped without injury. Firefighters from Long Creek, Russell and Vimville volunteer fire departments battled that blaze shortly after midnight.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at