The State Fire Marshal”s office on Monday announced the December blaze that killed nine people at Academy Crossing Apartments was accidental.
According to the Fire Marshal”s office, the fire originated in a chair in the living room of Apartment E7, where all nine people died during the early morning hours of Dec. 28. In its investigation, the Fire Marshal”s Office eliminated multiple causes of the fire, with the exception of “smoking-related materials.”
“This tragic fire and resulting loss of life is a stark reminder of the importance of knowing and practicing fire safety in the home,” Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said.
Still, Starkville Fire Department Chief Rodger Mann said the investigation is ongoing.
“Nothing has changed for us,” Mann said. “The Starkville Fire Department stands in the same position it did last week. No new information has been discovered and we are not prepared to release our findings at this point because we still haven”t concluded the investigation.”
“We still haven”t even gotten anything back from the electrical engineer,” he added.
Fire broke out around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 28 in an apartment belonging to 25-year-old India Williams and her three children, Jacorian Vasser, 6, Richard Vasser Jr., 5, and Kamarion Williams, 2; Castella Maria Bell, 18, and her three children, Ta”Nayia Bell, 4, Jayvion Bell, 3, and Sumaya Bell, 6 months; and Lakesha Gillespie, 20.
Bell and her children recently had fallen on hard times and moved in with Williams and Gillespie, who shared the apartment, a week or two before the fire, neighbors said.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.