TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - A fire in Downtown Tupelo led firefighters to the discovery of a body inside the home.
Daughter Delia Turner told WTVA she believes the man found dead was her father, 76 year-old Tommy Turner.
Remains of the house on Magazine Street in Tupelo. Photo Date: Jan. 4, 2021.
A raging fire reduced the big, tall house that once stood at 426 Magazine Street to a bunch of burned rubble, charred debris, a few walls, and a part of the second floor.
Tupelo Fire Marshall Jason Cross explained firefighters discovered the fire themselves between 2:00 A.M. and 3:00 A.M. Sunday morning (01-03-21).
Cross said solving the mystery of the Sunday fire is a team effort.
“We do not know the cause now, it’s ongoing,” Cross said. “Right now, we are working in conjunction with the State Fire Marshall’s Office investigators because there was a fatality,” Cross said.
Cross added friends and family reached out with information about the house and its layout that’s helping the investigation.
“Because of the damage, we couldn’t really find walls or anything like that," Cross said.
“Given the amount of damage and the equipment that we have to use, it’s making it pretty difficult on us."
The fire was so large and so hot that it affected nearby buildings, including the Good Samaritan Free Clinic right next door. This is the clinic’s first day back open after a 2-week break. Clinic Board Member Sam Pace said the clinic is grieving with the family.
“It was obviously a rip-roaring very, very bad fire, and we’re so sorry about the loss of life next door.”
Amy Fagan is Executive Director of the clinic. She explained some of the damage the building suffered.
“We seem to have some damage to one side of our building. All of the glass windows and doors are damaged, they’re cracked and our windows have been blown out. Blinds on the inside have been melted, and some of the flooring on the inside of the building has been affected also.”
She explained the heat also melted some of their electrical wiring, and took out their WiFi. They’re expecting to have WiFi back up by Tuesday to begin seeing patients again Tuesday evening.
She said while insurance and a contractor help them navigate the situation, the clinic is staying open.
Teams are continuing to sift through the rubble of the house. Fire Marshall Cross said the coroner sent the body to the state crime lab for an autopsy.