Family loses home in fire

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 9, 2002

BOGUE CHITTO – A Norfield family lost their home during an earlymorning fire at their residential business on Highway 51, familymembers and authorities said.

The fire at Norfield Aquariums at 3017 Highway 51 south wasreported to 911 at 4:45 a.m. Bogue Chitto Volunteer Fire DepartmentChief Sedgie Mercier said the fire started in the back of adownstairs residence, which was occupied by Gary and Martha Loftonand their son Shane.

“When we got there, it was fully engulfed in the back(residential) side of the building,” Mercier said.

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Mercier said the fire had spread to the aquarium part of thebuilding, but firefighters were able to save equipment there. Thechief said Lofton also had a carpet business and firefighters wereconcerned about that property.

“We were trying to contain it before it got to the carpet side,”Mercier said, adding that firefighters were successful in savingthat property as well.

Members of the Bogue Chitto, Hog Chain and Ruth Volunteer FireDepartments responded to the fire. County sheriff’s department andMississippi Highway Patrol authorities were called for trafficcontrol.

The cause of the fire was not known, but Mercier speculated itwas electrical in nature. While the business part was saved, theresidential part of the building was a near-total loss.

“Everything was pretty much lost in it,” Shane Lofton said.

Lofton said the business had been in the family about 10 yearsand the family had lived at the location about 25 years. The familylived downstairs below the business.

Lofton said an air conditioner compressor exploded during thefire. He said the family was not injured in the blaze.

Denise Kent lives near the Loftons and said her home was withoutpower for about an hour and half after electrical service wasdisconnected during the firefighting effort.

“Blue flames were all you could see,” Kent said in describingthe scene this morning.

Firefighters were still at the scene around 8:30 a.m.Tuesday.

“They’re putting out some hot spots,” Lofton said.