Arson not suspected in Flowood apartment fire - - Jackson, MS

Arson not suspected in Flowood apartment fire

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FLOWOOD, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Flowood fire investigators say arson is not suspected in Sunday evening's fire at Laurel Park apartments.

FFD believes the blaze began on the front side of the building, between the first and second floor.

Eight units were destroyed in building 37. No injuries were reported.

The blaze began about 5:25 Sunday evening. Witnesses report hearing a boom, then seeing smoke and flames from the attic area.

Firefighters say there were smoke alarms in the apartments but the didn't have a sprinkler system, according Grantham. 

"We can highly recommend they have extinguishers, smoke alarms. We can recommend they have fire sprinklers but by law we cannot mandate they have those."

Each city and county sets fire codes to determine if smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, or sprinklers are required inside apartment complexes.

The Laurel Park blaze marks the second building destroyed by fire in the Metro in the last month. Several Ridgeland Ranch apartments were destroyed in a blaze two weeks ago.

Neither building had a sprinkler system.

Firefighters say sprinklers aren't meant to save the building but to give residents additional time to get out. This is especially true if they don't hear the smoke alarm.

"We've seen studies where they'll have two rooms side by side, have one sprinklered and one one non-sprinklered, and it's amazing how much sprinklers help. Not only does it save lives but it saves firefighters," explained Grantham.

Opponents of sprinkler systems say they cost too much and could activate prematurely.

Meanwhile, Grantham has advice for apartment renters.

"For people who smoke, it would be a great idea for them to actually walk away from the building when they smoked. Not just on their balcony. One thing that we are highly recommending to apartment managers is to completely do away with grills."

Grantham said another good idea is to get renter's insurance. It's relatively inexpensive and could save you thousands.

In a related noted, firefighters rescued a cat Sunday. Another cat was rescued Monday morning after being trapped under debris overnight.

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