"Heartbreaking loss" after historic house goes up in flames - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

"Heartbreaking loss" after historic house goes up in flames

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HAZLEHURST, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Investigators still haven't figured out how a historic house in Hazlehurst went up in flames over the weekend. The Ellis House, built 125 years ago, remained a favorite among residents and Mississippi historians.

Now, after fire ripped through the structure days ago, only a shell of its former splendor remains.

When firefighters responded to the residence Saturday night, flames could be seen at the rear of the home. The fire quickly spread, firefighter Brandon Runyan said, because of the type of wood used to build that 19th century home: pine.

In a matter of minutes, only part of the home's wood frame and one of its four chimneys still stood.

In the coming days, the state fire marshal will try to determine the cause.

"We had very, very little time from the time that it was paged until it was fully involved," said Runyan. 

The home holds special significance for many in Hazlehurst: it was constructed for Isaac Newton Ellis in 1891. Resident Pat Moreland said Ellis went on to help Major Reuben Webster Millsaps found Millsaps College.

Ellis and his relatives lived in the Queen Anne-style home for decades after that.

Ellis House also has a current owner now, too, but firefighters say no one was inside when flames gutted the structure.

"I know a lot of the neighbors were talking about how heartbreaking it was to see a historic house like this go up in flames," added Runyan.

Firefighters said the fire burned so intensely, they could be felt from more than sixty feet away. Neighbors said they could see the flames for miles.

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